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Full text of "THE LAND OF THE NEW GUINEA PYGMIES"

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THE L/AND 

OF THE 

NEW GUINEA PYGMIES 

AN ACCOUNT OF THE STORY OF A PIONEER JOURNEY 
OF EXPLORATION INTO THE HEART OF 

NEW GUINEA 



BY 

CAPTAIN C G. RAWLING, C.I.E., F.R.G.S. 

SOMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY 

AUTHOK OP "THE GRKAT PLATEAU," 6f., &C. 



With 48 Illustrations fef a Map 



PHILADELPHIA 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 
LONDON: SEELEY, SERVICE <^ CO. LTD. 



TO 
SIR CLEMENTS JR. MARKHAM, K.C.B., D.Sc., F.R.S., RS.A. 

(LATE PRESIDENT OP THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY) 

TO WHOSE EXPLORATIONS AND RESEARCH WE ARE SO 

HEAVILY INDEBTED ; TO WHOM EXPLORERS 

AND GEOGRAPHERS AUE UNDER 

SO GREAT AN OBLIGATION 



PREFACE 

MY best thanks are due to H. S. Harrison, Esq., 
D.Se., F.R.A.I., for his monograph on the Pygmies 
which I have ventured to introduce into this book as 
Chapter XIX. Not only is it a valuable addition to 
the scientific results of the expedition, but it suggests a 
line of thought which may be followed with advantage 
by all those who are interested in the origin of the 
living races of man. References and ultra-scientific 
terms have been omitted in order to bring before the 
general reader the trend of present thought on this 
subject. 



vn 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGES 

Life in the sixteenth century Gallant pioneers A Portuguese 
explorer- Discovery of New Guinea Dutch enterprise 
Famous travellers Native hostility European annexation 
The Dutch section An unknown country .... 17-25 



CHAPTER II 

Organising an expedition Learning by experience Forming the 
party The survey staff Transport arrangements The food- 
problem Ill-chosen supplies En route Dutch courtesy- 
Enlarging the staff The line of advanceJavaDue east 
A curious prison regime Dobo The island of New Guinea 
The Mimika district The coast-line 26-39 



CHAPTER III 

First impressions A doubtful reception First overtures- 
Boarded by savages Exemplary behaviour Into the un- 
knownThe Mimika Kiver An enthusiastic welcome 
Wakatirai A village community Selecting a site Un- 
mannerly curiosity 40-52 

CHAPTER IV 

Coast and up-river tribes The Papuan Albinos Native hair- 
dressing Personal adornments Native costume Civilisa- 
tion and morality Compulsory clothingWidow's weeds 
Male attire Improving nature The drunken savage- 
Corporal punishmentTreatment of childron~-Female sub- 
jugationNative diet-^l^Blii "delicacy A fertile soil- 
Native indolence 53-67 

ix 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER V 

TASKS 

Shai'k-fishing Poor sport Bartou and exchange- A primitive 
aboriginal ITgly rumours Cannibalism An upon question 
Difficulties of pioneering Learning tlw lan^ua^* A Papuan 
canoe Buying a Hoot 



(CHAPTER IX 

Parinwu-A promising fannyurd* Kutivo dg - IVi 

A cassowary - Up the UimikuArftamiK trnvt*1Iiit^ t 'RpMi 
~Tho Jimgua^e ^^wiini-mtna" Birth, mnrrm^ tlmth 
I)iHtHi8tj - Burial Modieinu -A brink itisirk^i in wkulta 
of the iwtivw Uuful oloctrk tin:h , 
X 



CHAPTKR VI 

A missing comrade A fruitless ncurch A lu>;ivy blow Unprofit- 
able s*eal IMvur navigation OuHorting transport - Tho 
Minrikn River- Diilicult navigation Itivor iW.i lUvor 
fauna Big game "Wallaby uutl cusous Insm-t posts 
SnakoB A day of surprises - An extraordinary \wlcomi} . 80-04 



CHAP'] 1 !', 11 VII 

Pariinan Single combat Troatniunt of wivo.s Towartiii the lulls 
--Forest growth- Woodcraft Tho Kapatv I'roparnig for uti 
attuck Nogotiatiug Tanir Wild scfnory litriniltiirt with 
coolioa Friendly villages DtHtaull eatmiMii^ K;un Short 
rations 



CHAPTFJl VIII 

Unpleasant work - Chiming pygmiuA-- (fapturt'd 

uquipmont Primitivo niothodH I'yr! 11 ^" 5ntnry Prni'trut- 
ing tha mountains- Stalking hnmun *iiut Hnivo l'y#mi:i 
TJIUM! of thu PygniitiR- AttoniptH t p*iH'imtt Ihr rmititry 
Hill pUmtathwa Frojjh lino **f 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER X 

PAGES 

The track to Ibo The Tuaba River Inundations Tattoo marks 
Hospitality A critical moment Expeditious house moving 
A zoological collection The bower-bird Birds of paradise 
Arrival of fresh coolies Poling and paddling Trade 
articles 142-156 



CHAPTER XI 

A village brawl Cooled ardour A pig festival Highway robbery 
Restitution Theft Dishonoured notes Wife beating 
Our steam-launch A transformation The Dreadnought . . 157-172 



CHAPTER XII 

The village of Nim6 An inundated village A timely rescue 
Barter and exchange Clubs Strategy Second trip up the 
Kaiqua 173-180 



CHAPTER XIII 

Coast and up-river natives Tho headman of Nime A dignified 
character Niitive curiosity Photographs and pictures 
Native drawings Novelty and amusement Scenery on the 
Atoeka An albino Buying a motor launch Collapse of a 
village A miserable experience Ha,lley's comet An enjoy- 
able change 181-195 



CHAPTER XIV 

Up tho Wataikwa A stampede of carriers A toilsome retreat 
Vicarious punishment Disappointing behaviour New 
Guinea flios Tho wot season -Crossing the Kaumra The 
hidden baggagu Difficult surveying Alternative plans 
The course of the Wataikwa Pleasant speculations A pre- 
carious position Cutting through the forest Hampered 
work A turbulent stream Hewing and cutting Dense 
vegetation Dreary work 196-210 

xi 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XV 



1'AflKS 



Cheerless prospects Shattered hopes Ill-used (*urkhas Frosh 
storesA bolting gim-bearor Birds of paradise Return to 
the Wat aikwii Difficulties of surveying Photographing thu 
natives 211-221 



CHAPTER XVI 

Floods at Parimau~A Inirial--- Impressing rirouinslancos A suc- 
cessful clearingNatives' ido;i of wipply and domain! 
Mosquitoes and loochos Tho value of mi'dunm* -~ Mortality 
of the expedition Bori-heri -Malaria ;!:!:! -238 



CHAPTER XVII 

Illness of Goodfollow A choorlvsn plaeo- Our ill-fatoil lauwh - 
The art of poling A hearty woloomo- Propitiating f \w rivor 
gods Scarcity of gamo- Loss of ramw - \ rain-M>akd 
country Migration- Valuable detail work Py^'my villup'ti 
The expedition split up Lost coolios 



CH AFTER XVIII 

Tapiro Mountain Tho homo of the py^iuios HllWtrt nf i! ll*fula 
A silunt march Norvims carrtorw Ext'it*l py^mi^H A 
poor joko Churlish hoatH Physiisil dmraittrrialu'H* -Ihtw 
Porsonal truaBnros Hojicl-tlroKsi* Plaittsiuun anl p.V^^O' 
A struggle fur existence --Cloarin^H Klunivi' vvoim*n T1 
incomprehonsiblo white man - Spori*r plainHHitn- -My - 
pioious guido AhoBtilo hoa(kman- -Tiunl wuiuon-f^lk Our 
departure Moa8uruUHntH of py^utmn . 



COAITKlt XIX 



Dwarfs and giants Tho py^my qiumiiim Nigrit** ur 

Head-form Origin t>f pygmion* - Varituw viiwH An *IHUI 
question Pygmy culturo-Woaponii - Fini-iiuikiiig Tlw WH 
of stone Arts and crafts Decorative art Serial UIK! irihal 
organisation Statu* Antitjuity ,...., 

xii 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XX 

PAGES 

Return to the coast No coolies A fine dancing hall Native 
music Dancing The tocsin of war A false alarm A peace- 
ful time Myriads of crabs Native children Children's 
games Methods of fishing Brush turkey .... 279-290 



CHAPTER XXI 

Unpromising coolies The problem of the hills Our motor boat 
Difficult navigation Interested motives A double murder 
Organising the advance The advance to the mountains 
Papuans and the axes A change in the river Crossing the 
Wataikwa A flooded river Coal Rock formation Unpro- 
mising prospects An arduous climb A grand outlook . . 291-307 



CHAPTER XXII 

Searching for a ford A dangerous undertaking A plucky 
Gurkha Building a bridge Second stage of our advance 
The stores an important factor Effects of temperature 
Bad going Reduced rations Miserable coolies A race 
with the clouds ^Success A fine view The Nassau range 
Oil and minerals The Utakwa River Mount Idenburg 
Tapiro Mountain Plains and rivers Doctor Lorentz The 
price of success The return journey A feast and its results 308-326 



CHAPTER XXIII 

Preparing to leave Bashful pygmy women A hurricane Motor 
boat on fire The Atoeka River A cordial welcome Inspect- 
ing a village Dancing halls A return visit Keen traders 
The Kamnra A collision Kamura village A wild-looking 
crew Attacked An erratic motor A glorious bay 
Gorgeous coloured fish Return to Wakatimi .... 327-341 

xiii 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXIV 

PAGKS 

Wania Bay An unexpected bar Our unfortunate motor boat 
A lost propeller A critical position Salving the launch A 
humorous comparison Tho last voyage- A welcome sight - 
An unexpected reinforcement IMi2--3,?2 

CHAPTER XXV 

Completed work Results of tho expedition - Disapp.iintod hop*\s 
{ Relief ships Anticipating trouble Scones of turmoil 
Civilising influence - Dobo Disporsa! of tho Expedition 
Dutch hospitality 'I5.'J ,'$<JQ 

INDEX :?- 



XIV 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Dr. Marshall and Pygmies Frontispiece 

PAGE 

A Forest Impassable for Man 46 

Wakatimi Village 46 

Types of Papuans 50 

A Papuan Family 56 

Widows' Weeds go 

A Native Beauty 64, 

On the Lower Reaches of the Mimika River .... 76 

Canoe Building Roughly Shaping a Canoe .... 78 

Canoe Building Levering the Prepared Log .... 78 

At Parimau yo 

An Elderly Widow 92 

In the Village of Parimau 96 

Pygmies Making Fire 112 

Pygmies of the Tapiro Tribe 116 

Wamberfmi Village 124 

Parimau Camp 124 

An Idle Dandy of Parimau 134 

Papuans Experimenting with Soap 134 

Tattooed Woman 144 

Parimau 144 

XV 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Men Securing and Binding the Boars 160 

The Slaughter Platform 160 

A Pig Feast Wailing and Lamentation 162 

A Pig Feast Women Crying Over the Carcases . . . 162 

Forcing the Canoes Past the Timber Blocks on the Mimika . 178 
A Party of Papuans Travelling Fast on the Kaiqua River . .178 

A Headman .......... 182 

Effects of a Flood 192 

Greater Bird of Paradise . . . . . . . .216 

A Patriarch 224 

View Looking East from Parimau Clearing . 228 

" The Idle, Slothful Savage " 228 

Boy Scouts 228 

Tapiro Pygmies 250 

A Typical Pygmy House 256 

At Wamberimi .......... 262 

Tapiro Pygmies A Friendly Attitude ..... 262 

Plainsmen and Pygmies 268 

A Dancing Hall ......... 282 

Tapiro Pygmies Discussing the Situation .... 282 

From Above Iwaka Camp #04 

The Wataikwa River . . 304 

The Gurkha Jangbir , . . . . . . .310 

Spanning the Torrent .310 

Women Using the Stone Axe 354 

The Camp at 5400 Feet 314 

Suspicious Movements 33^ 

xvi 



THE LAND OF THE 
NEW GUINEA PYGMIES 



CHAPTER I 

Life in the sixteenth century Gallant pioneers A Portuguese explorer- 
Discovery of New Guinea Dutch enterprise Famous travellers- 
Native hostility European annexation The Dutch section An 
unknown country 

DURING the sixteenth century Europe was in a 
state of perpetual strife. 

Out of a chaos of religious conflicts, social strife, 
and prolonged war, emerged the Renaissance. Its 
advent was heralded alike by the outspoken, un- 
compromising utterances of Luther, and the polished, 
cynical essays of Erasmus. It was necessary to every 
country, every profession, every trade. To the masses 
life in Europe had become intolerable. Religion, which 
then played the most important part in men's lives, had 
passed imperceptibly from the sublime to the ridiculous, 
and thence to the grotesque. Vice in every form had 
reached its culminating point in the excesses of the 
Borgias. Taste in art and literature was degenerate 
and depraved to a degree. War had satiated the 
highest in the land with conquest and plunder, and 
sickened the lowest with misery and destitution. 

Thus it came about that men, bolder than their 

17 B 



LIFE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY 

fellows, disgusted with life in Europe, went forth to find 
new homes across the Atlantic, limitless to them and 
uncharted, beset with unknown perils. 

It is to the intolerable state of life in Europe before 
the Renaissance that we owe the discovery of the New 
World. With the progress which accompanied the 
Reformation, trade helped to carry forward the work of 
populating new countries and the fashioning of the map 
of our world of to-day. 

Of all countries, Spain and Portugal perhaps derived 
the greatest advantage from the Renaissance, It is 
to them, therefore, that we chiefly owe the discovery 
of countries across the seas. Spanish names are to 
be found on many a promontory and inlet of the 
New World everlasting monuments to her dauntless 
seamen. In the Americas these pioneers were soon 
followed by British adventurers and merchants. The 
names of Grenville and Hawkins, Raleigh and Drake, 
and of many others whose gallant deeds have made 
history, rise before us as we turn over the pages of the 
past. Where they cut their way through tangled 
jungle, or waded, staggering in the slime of some pesti- 
lential marsh, or fought desperately with their backs to 
their beached ships against tribes to whom mercy was 
unknown, now stand teeming cities, with their busy 
streets and crowded markets, or prosperous farmsteads 
in the midst of their shady pastures and fields of corn. 
Their work has been continued and completed by suc- 
cessive generations, toiling with axe and plough as the 
pioneers of future Empire. 

And yet there remains one country, the greater 
part of which is as unchanged to-day as when the first 
Portuguese seaman sighted it wellnigh four centuries 

18 



A PORTUGUESE EXPLORER 

ago. We can imagine the crew, weary with their 
year-long voyage, weak probably from scurvy, straining 
their eyes landward as the ship, foul and encrusted, 
slowly approached the shore, and with what excite- 
ment and wonder they surveyed the tangled stretches 
of jungle, mist- veiled, slashed here and there with the 
gleam of water, backed by mountains unknown and 
mysterious, and seamed with dark and gloomy gorges. 
For such is New Guinea to-day. 

It was Jorge de Meneses, sent from Malacca to com- 
mand the Portuguese at the Spice Islands, who (it is 
believed) in 1527 was the first to land in New Guinea. 
In this remote corner of the world existed the most 
deadly rivalry between Spain and Portugal. Early in 
the sixteenth century a Papal Bull divided the entire 
East Indies between the two countries. The dividing- 
line was a meridian drawn in the Atlantic, then arrived 
at by the roughest of dead reckoning, which unfortu- 
nately ran close to the valuable Moluccas, the Spice 
Islands,, and constant strife therefore arose as to its 
exact position. The Spaniards reached the Spice 
Islands by way of the Pacific ; the Portuguese from 
India and Malacca. The immediate result of this 
rivalry was the discovery of New Guinea, lying directly 
in the route to the Moluccas. Meneses attempted a 
new route around the North of Borneo, and, landing at 
New Guinea, remained there several months without 
realising at all the importance or size of the island. 
The natives of the Moluccas called the inhabitants 
Papuans, on account of their woolly hair, and Meneses 
therefore called the island Papua. When the monsoon 
changed, he gladly sailed away to join his comrades at 
TanatL 

19 



DISCOVERY OF NEW GUINEA 

The next to touch on the shores of New Guinea was 
the Spaniard, Alvaro de Saavedra, who sailed across the 
Pacific from South America, where Pizarro was fighting 
desperately to carry out his conquest of Peru. 

In 1529 Charles V sold the Spanish claims on the 
Spice Islands to the Crown of Portugal. Eight years 
later, in 1537, Grijalva and Alverado were despatched 
from Mexico by Hernan Cortes. They were wrecked 
on the north coast, where Grijalva was murdered by his 
mutinous crew, who were themselves taken prisoners by 
the natives. The castaways were finally released by 
the Portuguese and taken to the Moluccas. 

In 1545 the island received the name by which we 
know it to-day. Ortis de Retes, thinking himself the 
discoverer, named it New Guinea, on account of the 
resemblance the inhabitants bore to those of the West 
Coast of Africa. Only the British section of the island 
now retains the more ancient designation of Papua. 
So far only the northern coast had been visited, but 
in 1606 Louis Vaiz de Torres landed in Milne Bay 
on the southern shore. He made extensive observa- 
tions, mapped a certain portion of the coast, and 
discovered the straits between New Guinea and Aus- 
tralia which now bear his name. All records, however, 
of his discovery were lost till 1762, when they were 
found by Dalrymple in the archives of Manilla, though 
his map was not brought to light till 1878. Any 
attempt, however, to colonise New Guinea, such as 
was taking place in the Americas, invariably met with 
disaster. 

Early in the seventeenth century Holland, usurping 
the place of the declining Portuguese Empire, appeared 
upon the scene. Captain Willem Jansz of the yacht 

20 



DUTCH ENTERPRISE 

Dyske was the first Dutchman to land. The in- 
habitants, however, proved hostile, and attacked and 
killed eleven of his thirty sailors. Another attempt 
under Schouten and Le Maine in 1616 likewise failed, 
many of the crew being killed and wounded. Janz 
Carstensz, travelling eastwards, passed the island in 
1623. He was the first to place on record the existence 
of a mountain range possessing snowfields and glaciers. 
To perpetuate this discovery, his name has been given 
to the highest visible snow-peak, and it is to this dis- 
trict that the travels recounted in this book mainly 
refer. In 1642 came the famous navigator Abel Janez 
Tasman. Little more was heard of the island till the 
year 1700, when William Dampier, despatched by 
George III, sailed round the eastern end and dis- 
covered the channel separating the island of New 
Britain from that of New Guinea. 

In 1714 the island was nominally ceded to the 
Dutch by the Sultan of Tidore, this being recognised 
in London in 1824. 

For fifty years no traveller approached the coast, 
and it was not until the arrival of the Englishman, 
Captain Carteret, in 1767, that any further discoveries 
of importance were made in this part of the world. 
The following year Bougainville touched these shores. 
In 1770 Captain Cook visited the island, in 1771 Son- 
neret, and the East India Company in 1775. In 1784 
England obtained the right of free trade. In 1791 
arrived MacCluer and Edwards, 1792 Captains Bligh 
and Portlock, 1793 D'Entrecasteau, and in the same 
year Mate Dell took possession of some islands in 
Torres Straits for England, and Captain Hayes of the 
East India Company, in addition to other discoveries, 

21 



'FAMOUS TRAVELLERS 

established a station on the north coast ; but the 
natives, as usual resenting any attempt to occupy the 
country, forced him to retire a few years later. 

From this period it would be tedious and almost 
impossible to give a complete list of all the famous 
travellers who have contributed something to the 
world's knowledge of the coast of New Guinea and 
neighbouring islands. It may, however, be interesting 
to mention a few of the most renowned, 

Lieutenant MacCluer surveyed large portions of 
the western coast in 1790, and was finally lost at sea 
in 1795. In 1826 Kolff arrived; in 1827 Admiral 
D'Urville completed a valuable survey of the north 
coast. Lieutenant Yule landed in 1846 and took pos- 
session of a portion of the south-east coast in the name 
of Great Britain. The largest river was discovered in 
1845 by the gunboat Fly, from which it takes its name. 
In 1858 came Wallace, and thirteen years later Teys- 
mann. Admiral Moresby landed in 1875, followed by 
D'Aibertis, Macgregor, Maclay and others, amongst 
whom must not be forgotten that famous missionary 
the Rev. James Chalmers, who was afterwards so 
treacherously murdered on the coast. The resentment 
of the natives to any attempt at occupation, and their 
implacable hostility, resulted in many brutal murders 
and many complete disasters. In 1890 a British steam 
yacht was wrecked to the west of the Mimika River, 
and the entire crew killed and eaten. The disaster to 
the Pell occurred in 1900, a similar fate befalling the 
officers and crew near the present position of the Dutch 
settlement of Merauke. 

On the submission of the Sultan of Tidore to the 
Dutch in 1714, the latter, as suzerain power, acquired 

22 



EUROPEAN ANNEXATION 

all possessions of the former ruler and claimed the 
territory from the most westerly point eastwards to 
the 141st meridian. This boundary, with slight modi- 
fications, was accepted by the Powers in 1893, but it 
was not until 1899 that Holland took over direct con- 
trol of her section. 

By Imperial Letters Patent issued to the German 
New Guinea Company, Germany laid claim to and 
annexed the north-eastern portion of the island in 1884. 
The south-western section was formally taken over 
by Mr. Chester by order of the Premier of Queensland 
in 1883. This act was not confirmed by the Home 
Government, but the territory was nevertheless annexed 
to the British Crown in the following year, and the 
boundary between German and British territory fixed 
in 1885. To Germany went the newly named Bismarck 
Archipelago. 

Sufficient has been said to explain New Guinea's 
meagre history and how its land has been parcelled out 
between the three European nations. Of the British 
section of Papua much is known ; it is partially civilised, 
and a considerable portion surveyed. Neither the Ger- 
man nor the Dutch sections are nearly so far advanced, 
but Holland of late years has displayed great zeal in 
the exploration of her half of the island, which, in 
addition to being twice as extensive, offers more serious 
obstacles to successful exploration than either of the 
other two. 

During the last two or three years eight expeditions 
have penetrated into the Dutch section of the island from 
all sides, of which the most important are : the Mam- 
berano River Expedition under Kapt. A. Herderschee, 
October 1909 to May 1910 ; Humboldt's Bay Boundary 

23 



THE DUTCH SECTION 

Commission under F. J. P. Sachse, November 1909 ; the 
Fak-Fak Expedition under Kapt. Kock ; the Utakwa 
Expedition under Kapt. J. Van der Bie and Lieutenant 
Postema, March to December 1910; the Island River 
Expedition under Herr A. Schaeffer and Kapt. Van 
der Ven ; the Digul River Expedition, and the three 
Expeditions under the well-known Dr. Loi-entsz, in the 
last of which he reached his goal and penetrated to the 
Wilhelmina peaks. He was thus the first European to 
tread the snows of New Guinea. 

New Guinea as a whole still offers greater oppor- 
tunities for the explorer, collector and anthropologist, 
than any other portion of the globe. 

During the latter half of the last century so many 
vast areas of the world's surface yielded up their secrets 
before the advance of civilisation that comparatively 
little pioneer exploration now remains to be accom- 
plished. New Guinea still resists the invader, and 
though its hidden secrets are one by one being brought 
to light, yet many years must elapse before sufficient 
knowledge of the country can be accumulated even to 
construct a sketch map of its entire surface, to say 
nothing of a complete scientific examination of its 
mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants, or a study 
of the many savage tribes which inhabit the highlands 
and the plains. The chief reasons for its still being an 
almost terra incognita $re to be found in its remote 
situation from the ancient civilised world ; its impene- 
trable forests ; its rugged ranges and endless swamps ; 
its rains and fevers, and lastly its hostile and treacherous 
inhabitants, all of which obstacles have frequently 
proved insurmountable to the trader and traveller, 

It can be easily understood, therefore, why this 

24 



AN UNKNOWN COUNTRY 

country was selected as a virgin land in which to work 
when the British Ornithologists' Union desired to com- 
memorate their jubilee by sending an expedition into a 
country hitherto unexplored. The object of the British 
Expedition, the adventures of which I shall relate, was 
to explore that unknown country to the east of Fak- 
Fak, and to the west of Dr. Lorentsz's Nord River in 
the vicinity of the snowfields and glaciers of Carstensz 
Peak. Little or nothing was known of this great tract 
of country except what had been learnt by a flying 
visit paid to the Mimika and Utakwa Rivers a few 
years before. It had remained a land of mystery, 
impenetrable as when Carstensz had first seen it three 
hundred years before. 



25 



CHAPTER II 

Organising an expedition Learning by experience Forming the party- 
The survey staff Transport arrangements The food problem Ill- 
chosen supplies En route Dutch courtesy Enlarging the staff- 
The line of advance Java Due east A curious prison regime Dobo 
The island of New Guinea The Mimika district The coast-lino 

TO the uninitiated the work involved in an expe- 
dition might appear to commence on the day 
arranged for the start, but this is by no means the 
case. The organisation of an expedition requires the 
ability of a thorough business man, combined with 
an intimate knowledge of the special requirements 
demanded by the nature of the country to be tra- 
versed. The physical peculiarities of the country to 
be entered, its climate, inhabitants, local supplies and 
means of transport, as learnt by personal experience or 
from information gathered from the reports of former 
travellers, are of the first consideration. Such know- 
ledge can be gained only by months of careful study 
and thorough inquiry, and is of the utmost import- 
ance, for it must not be forgotten that one weak link 
may endanger the whole enterprise, and that for 
each country in the world different arrangements are 
necessary. 

The equipment down to the minutest detail, the 
quality and quantity of the transport, the favourable 
seasons of the year, the available funds, one's com- 
panions, together with a host of other points, all re- 
quire the most careful consideration and thought. 

26 



ORGANISING AN EXPEDITION 

Perseverance and determination will surmount most 
obstacles, but can never make up for bad organisation. 

Even with the exercise of the greatest forethought 
and most careful preparation the plan of action and 
the arrangements made must be of a sufficiently 
elastic character to allow of alteration if unforeseen 
and insuperable difficulties should occur, so as to 
avoid the dislocation of the whole organisation. 

A pioneer expedition into an unknown land must 
necessarily undergo greater hardships and encounter 
more unexpected difficulties than one which can profit 
by the lessons of another, and though the Mimika 
district was a terra incognita until the landing of our 
party, one is compelled to acknowledge that much 
might have been gained by a more careful study and 
proper appreciation of the trials and difficulties ex- 
perienced by travellers in other parts of the country. 

Whether the scientific results would have been of 
greater value is another question, but it cannot be 
denied that much life, time, and money would have 
been saved. Here, however, there were compensa- 
tions, for, had the correct river been selected as the 
line of advance, it may be assumed that we should 
have reached the snows of the central range ; but, on 
the other hand, we should not have made the valu- 
able discovery of the existence of the pygmies. That 
careful organiser, Dr. Lorentsz, required three well- 
equipped expeditions, two on the same river, carried 
out in successive years, to reach Mount Juliana, and 
so it may be hoped that our next attempt, profiting 
by the lessons taught us in the present instance, may 
solve some of the problems that we left untouched. 

A committee, composed of members of the Orni- 

27 



FORMING THE PARTY 

thologists' Union, was formed, in whose hands the 
entire arrangements were placed, and whose first 
act was to select as leader to the party Mr. Walter 
Goodfellow, a well-known and experienced collector. 
Shortly afterwards followed the appointments of Mr. 
W. Stalker and Mr. G. C. Shortridge, who were to 
be responsible for the birds, mammals, and reptiles 
captured. The former had had many years' experi- 
ence in the East, particularly in Northern Australia 
and Papua. The latter was known throughout South 
Africa, Australia, and the East Indian Islands, from 
whence he had brought many valuable collections 
to the British and other museums. Mr. A. F. 11. 
Wollaston, medical officer, entomologist, and botanist 
to the late Ruwanzori Expedition, and author of 
that excellent book of travel, From Ruwanzori to the 
Congo, was appointed to the same posts on this pre- 
sent expedition. Thus composed, the personnel and 
the plans would have satisfied the originators of the 
scheme, but as is so often the case with expeditions 
sent into unknown lands, subscriptions did not come 
in as freely as was anticipated, and conversely the 
scope of the work was extended. The interest of the 
Royal Geographical Society of London was invoked 
in that part of the work connected with exploration 
and survey, and with their usual generosity where geo- 
graphical problems remain to be solved, they at once 
fell in with the proposal and liberally contributed to the 
funds. While in Tibet I had had some experience in 
the construction of maps, so I applied for the post 
of surveyor, and to my intense satisfaction obtained the 
appointment. My enthusiasm was slightly damped, 
however, when I learnt that there was to be no survey 

28 



THE SURVEY STAFF 

staff, and that I had to do the work alone. When 
I remembered the heavy casualty lists of former ex- 
peditions in other parts of the country we were about 
to enter, and realised that if I were to fall ill the 
survey work would come to an abrupt end, any uneasi- 
ness on my part as to the result must be excused* 
The collectors were three in number, or four, if we 
include Mr. Wollaston, who was likewise capable of 
assisting in that work, while I, as surveyor, stood alone. 
After some delay the sanction of the committee was 
therefore obtained for an additional surveyor to be 
appointed, and here I was fortunate enough to obtain 
the services of one eminently suited to the work. 
Dr. E. Marshall, one of the three who had accom- 
panied Sir E. Shackleton on his final advance to the 
South Pole, had but lately returned to England. On 
the Antarctic Expedition he had held the posts of 
medical officer and cartographer, and when the objects 
of the present expedition were explained to him he 
expressed his willingness to join as assistant surveyor 
and surgeon. The European staff was now complete. 

Through the kindness of Sir Edward Grey and the 
British Minister at the Hague permission had been 
obtained from the Dutch Government for the expedi- 
tion to land on the south coast of Dutch New Guinea 
on any date after January 1, 1910, together with a 
courteous offer of assistance from the authorities of the 
Netherlands India. The Dutch section of New Guinea 
had been chosen on account of the vast extent of the 
unknown areas, and the western half in particular, 
because of the proximity of the great central range of 
mountains to the coast, a district which was thought 
likely to contain unknown varieties of birds and 

29 



TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS 

mammals. To reduce the area still further the Mimika 
district was selected for the disembarkation, as the Snow 
Peaks of Carstensz were reported to lie within a reason- 
able distance i.e. about seventy to eighty miles to 
the north. 

While the preliminary arrangements were being 
made in London, Shortridge was working in Borneo, 
from whence it was arranged that he should join the 
main party as it passed through Java ; and that Stalker, 
who was likewise in the East, should set out at once 
and enlist one hundred carriers from the various islands 
scattered throughout the Archipelago. To avoid delay 
ten ex-military police Gurkhas from India were engaged 
for the twofold object of guarding the camps and, on 
account of their knowledge of jungle life and fondness 
for shooting, of collecting natural history specimens. 
These Gurkhas were enrolled at Darjeeling and sent to 
Singapore to await our arrival, but as it afterwards 
turned out they were not much used for the former 
purpose, as an escort of Javanese troops was supplied 
by the Dutch. The equipment and tinned food were 
brought from England, and the supplies for the coolies 
from Java and Amboina. 

A suitable and plentiful supply of food for the whole 
force is naturally of the first importance. Owing to 
the dearth of local supplies in New Guinea, it was 
found necessary to import all provisions needed for the 
expedition. It is true that sago palms grow in the 
swamps, but Malays are not sago eaters, and, in 
addition, we wished to leave the low-lying ground 
as soon as possible and take to the mountains, where 
sago trees do not exist. 

Throughout our stay in the country the numbers of 

30 



THE FOOD PROBLEM 

men employed by the Dutch and British varied between 
one hundred and twenty and two hundred, whose 
rations were one and a quarter pounds of rice and a 
quarter of a pound of dried meat and fish, together 
with tea and salt. Thus it will be understood that 
owing to the uncertainty as to when fresh stores might 
be brought by the visiting ships, and the lack of local 
supplies, it was necessary to import and stock an im- 
mense quantity of provisions. The preservation of 
these, on account of the excessive humidity of the 
climate, caused much anxiety, particularly as the con- 
signments of rice for the first half-year arrived in sacks, 
and were consequently spoilt by the first shower of rain. 
A noticeable improvement took place when the Dutch 
plan of packing the rice in sealed kerosene tins was 
adopted, but the work of closing the tins had to be 
performed with care, as the slightest defect in soldering 
let in the moisture with equally fatal results. From the 
same cause immense quantities of dried meat and fish 
were at times ruined, as old wooden kerosene cases were 
used to pack the food in, and being thus exposed to 
heat and rain, a few days were sufficient to turn the 
whole into a putrid mass. Coolies were continually 
employed in drying it, but with indifferent success. 

The provisions selected for our own consumption 
were of so remarkable a description that I am almost 
tempted to reprint the list, but as this might produce 
unseemly merriment amongst those who were not 
forced to consume them, and also to show that I am 
not alone in my opinion as to their unsuitability, I will 
quote from Dr. Wollaston's report: "Some of our 
own stores were, to say the least, ill-chosen. It ap- 
peared that a large quantity of stores had been brought 

31 



ILL-CHOSEN SUPPLIES 

from the Shackleton Expedition, which had returned 
from the Antarctic a few months before we left 
England. However suitable those provisions may 
have been for a Polar expedition, they were not the 
sort of thing one would have chosen for a journey in 
the tropics. For instance, large tins of ' bully-beef ' are 
excellent in a cold climate, but when you open them 
near the Equator you find that they consist of pallid 
lumps of pink flesh swimming in a nasty gravy. Pea- 
soup and pea-flour, of which we had nearly four hundred 
pounds' weight, strike terror into the stoutest heart when 
the temperature is 86 degrees in the shade. Pickles 
are all very well in their way for those that like them, 
but one hundred and sixty bottles was more than a 
generous allowance. . . . The packing was almost as 
remarkable as the choice of the stores themselves; 
they were secured in strong packing-cases of large 
and variable size, fastened with bands of iron and 
an incredible number of nails, suitable enough to 
withstand the banging Polar storms, but not well 
adapted to their present purpose. The boxes were all 
too big for convenient transport, and as each one was 
filled with food of one kind only every box had to be 
opened at once and a selection made from them/' 

Let me add that besides " bully-beef" the principal 
articles of food were tinned salmon and fresh herrings. 
It will be understood that ringing the changes on the 
above for eight months not only palled on the appetite, 
but was likely so to lower the constitution as to render 
it unfit to withstand the hai'dships necessitated by a 
prolonged sojourn in jungle and swamp. Such neces- 
saries as sugar, candles, &c. were omitted amidst the 
luxuries mentioned above. At the end of eight months, 

32 



EN ROUTE 

as a consequence of our representations as to the un- 
suitability of the supplies, an excellent store was sent 
out from England, well chosen and properly packed. 

As the story of our travels proceeds, my readers 
will be able to form their own opinion as to the per- 
fection, or otherwise, of the transport arrangements. 

We left England on 27th October 1909, and 
reached Singapore three weeks later. Here we found 
the Gurkhas living in the Native Infantry Lines, feel- 
ing quite at home, but much ruffled in temper by 
being repeatedly taken for Japanese by the native 
population of this cosmopolitan port, who, to the 
Gurkhas 1 surprise, said that they had never heard of 
the existence of this hardy mountain race. On the 
21st November we sailed in the Dutch packet for 
Batavia, the capital of Java, and reached there two 
days later. On the way we passed the scene of the 
disaster of the ill-fated French mail, La Seyne, which 
had been sunk a few days before in a collision with the 
British ship Onda. Her masts were just visible above 
the water, with lights burning to mark the spot where 
many bodies still lay entombed, and where, it is said, 
scores of the passengers and crew were devoured by 
sharks as they attempted to swim to the shore. 

At Batavia the members of the expedition received 
every possible assistance from the Governor-General, 
and from General von Daalen, the Commander-in- 
Chief; the former of whom, to our great regret, 
succumbed shortly afterwards to an attack of cholera. 
It was here arranged that an escort of forty Javanese 
troops, under the command of Lieutenant H. A. 
Cramer, an infantry officer selected from the Head- 
quarters Staff for this purpose, together with a staff of 

33 c 



ENLARGING THE STAFF 

European non-commissioned officers should be attached 
to the expedition, as it was considered that the natives 
of New Guinea might oppose the landing on the coast, 
and in any case, the camps would need to be guarded 
whether the inhabitants appeared friendly or not. To 
assist the soldiers of the escort when in camp, and to 
act as their carriers should the expedition penetrate 
any distance into the mountains, sixty convicts were 
supplied, drawn mainly from Java, but with a sprink- 
ling of representatives of every island in the Archi- 
pelago, supposed to have been picked for their ability 
to withstand the hardships of the climate. Many 
of these men were convicted murderers, and all 
had been sentenced to long periods of imprisonment. 
Some were even brought in chains to the ship, where 
their shackles were struck off, for it was well known 
that from the shores of New Guinea there was no 
possible chance of escape. They were supposed to 
have volunteered for the expedition, with the know- 
ledge that as a reward for good work, the length of 
their sentences might be reduced. This practice of 
employing convict labour on New Guinea and other 
expeditions is commonly followed throughout the 
Dutch East InJia possessions, but whether the advan- 
tage of obtaining as good a ration as that served out 
to the soldier and a chance of a remission of their 
sentence outbalances the prospect of certain sickness, 
and very probable death to follow, is an open question. 
Less masculine-looking men than the Javanese it 
would be impossible to find. Their large rounded hips 
and soft flabby bodies to the casual observer give 
them the appearance of women. 

To assist the expedition by every means in their 

34 



THE LINE OF ADVANCE 

power the Dutch Government promised to transport 
the whole of our force and stores to whatever landing- 
place might be selected as the point of disembarkation 
and, as far as practicable, to keep up a two to three 
monthly service between Amboina and New Guinea. 

It had been the intention of Mr. Goodfellow before 
leaving England to make use of the Utakwa River as 
the line of advance towards the mountains, but from 
information obtained in Batavia this was changed to 
the Mimika River. These were the only two rivers in 
this portion of New Guinea the mouths of which had 
been previously visited, and from the information avail- 
able there seemed little to choose between them. As 
a matter of fact, as was afterwards proved, the Mimika 
is but a small jungle-fed stream rising in the low foot- 
hills fifty miles to the west of Carstensz peak ; while 
the Utakwa is navigable for an ocean-going steamer 
for a distance of seventeen miles from its mouth, and 
runs directly from the snow mountain itself. We had 
the choice of either, and chose the wrong one, and this, 
little as we expected it at the time, precluded all possi- 
bility of our ever reaching the snowfields and glaciers 
of the central range. 

There followed an unavoidable delay of three 
weeks, during which time the soldiers and convicts 
were collected, and the ship prepared to take the heavy 
load of stores and building material, a cargo which not 
only filled her hold, but was piled high upon her decks. 

While this work was in progress, Marshall and 1 
made a tour through Java, but of this I need say little, 
as a report on this rich and prosperous island, ar* 
example of the colonising abilities of the Dutch, is 
outside the province of this book. With its 

35 



DUE EAST 

and peaceful population, its rich soil and intensive 
cultivation, it stands as a model of what the greater 
islands of Borneo and Sumatra will doubtless develop 
into in years to come. Compared with many other 
parts of the world the scenery is, to my mind, tame, 
though undeniably beautiful. Its places of interest are 
few and far between and, with the exception of the 
ruins of the ancient Buddhist temple of Boro-Boder, 
brought to light by Sir Stamford Raffles over a 
hundred years ago, and the active volcanoes, have little 
to attract the ordinary tourist. With the exception of 
the one temple mentioned above, there is nothing to 
approach in grandeur the glorious palaces and forts 
of British India, or the ruins of the temples and the 
homes of past dynasties scattered throughout that land. 

What struck me most during the journey was the 
scrupulous cleanliness of the native villages, the result, 
I understand, of a Government order. Would that 
the Indian Government could do likewise I 

The transport Nias, 850 tons, laden to her Plimsoll 
line, and crowded with soldiers, convicts and stores, 
left Soerabaia, the western port of Java, on Christ- 
mas Day, 1909, her decks piled high with bamboo 
poles, matting and building material. Her course 
lay almost due east, past the lovely islands of Bali 
and Lombok, clothed with their rice fields and dense 
forest vegetation, the summits of the mountains 
hidden in a mass of fleecy clouds, to Macassar in 
Celebes, and thence through a still, sapphire sea to 
Amboina. 

Stalker had preceded us to this place for the pur- 
pose of collecting a hundred coolies to act as carriers 
for the expedition. For want of room it was hnpos- 



A CURIOUS PRISON REGIME 

sible to accommodate these men on board, and they 
were therefore shipped to Dobo by passenger steamer, 
to await a second trip to be made by the Nias. 

Dobo, the chief settlement in the Aru Islands, was 
reached on January the 3rd. Dobo is a most unin- 
teresting place, built on a spit of sand at the entrance 
of one of the numerous channels which split the islands 
into small fragments. The houses are built of corru- 
gated iron, and are inhabited by a cosmopolitan collec- 
tion of Chinese, Japanese, Indians and Malays, all 
dependent directly or indirectly on the pearl fishing 
industry. The only peculiarity the town can boast of 
is that the doors of the jail are permanently thrown 
open, and the prisoners can wander where they like, 
enter and depart at will, only being compelled to spend 
the night within the walls. It is reported, with what 
truth I cannot say, that a few years ago there was 
trouble in the prison, which was only quelled by the 
Governor announcing his intention to lock the prisoners 
out, a threat which soon brought the rebellious ones 
to reason. 

As the islands are of coral, the question of fresh 
water is a serious one ; every drop of rain being collected 
and stored with great care. The huge hulk of an old 
iron ship belonging to the Celebes Trading Company, 
moored in the harbour and used as a store-ship for the 
pearl fishing fleet, is roofed with corrugated iron, and 
forms the most lasting watertank in the district. 

The town has no hotel, and requires none, for the 
hospitality extended to strangers by the British repre- 
sentatives of the Celebes Trading Company is prover- 
bial in this part of the world. 

By five o'clock the same afternoon we had embarked 

37 



THE ISLAND OF NEW GUINEA 

upon the last and shortest stage of the journey, with 
the knowledge that when the sun next rose scarcely 
ten miles would separate us from the land upon which 
our minds had so long been set. 

A sketch of the general aspect of the island of New 
Guinea, the land we were about to enter, will not here 
be out of place. To parody a guide-book : "It is the 
largest island in the world, being some one thousand one 
hundred miles in length, by four hundred miles in 
breadth, and having an area of three hundred and seven 
thousand square miles, or about the size of Great 
Britain and France combined. Throughout its entire 
length from east to west stretches a vast mountain 
range, of which the highest point is believed to be 
Mount Carstensz. To the north and south of this 
chain, which is known in the various districts under 
different names, stretch vast swampy plains covered 
with the densest forest, intersected by endless rivers, 
and inhabited by savage tribes. 

" Owing to its proximity to the Equator, and on 
account of the central range which impedes every 
wind that blows, the climate is both hot and damp, 
and for these reasons is extremely unhealthy. Were 
it not for its great physical and climatic obstacles, 
and for the hostility shown by its inhabitants to the 
stranger, New Guinea would long ago have been 
explored and its secrets revealed, instead of being, as 
it is at present, the least known and most savage land 
on the surface of the globe." 

To the Mimika district, the particular section we 
are most interested in, the same remarks hold good, 
with the difference that the mountains here rise to a 
greater altitude than elsewhere, and the plains are 

38 



THE COAST LINE 

less extensive. Dense forest covers every foot of 
ground ; there are no lakes or open stretches of water, 
nor, it may be added, forest paths. The only lines of 
communication are the rivers and the open sea, with 
dug-outs as the means of transport. 

The natives congregate along the banks of the 
rivers and the coast, the forest itself being practically 
uninhabited. The coast line, to the casual observer, is 
hard and straight, with numberless small bays and 
creeks, but these are so hidden from passing ships, that 
they form no guide as to whether they are the mouths 
of great rivers or of muddy inlets. The bays, however, 
are often of great size, and would be invaluable as 
harbours were it possible to make use of them; but 
evershifting and treacherous bars close their mouths, 
thus rendering the great majority useless to sea-going 
craft. 



CHAPTER III 

First impressions A doubtful reception First overtures Boarded by 
savages Exemplary behaviour Into the unknown The Miniiku 
river An enthusiastic welcome Wakatimi A village community 
Selecting a site Unmannerly curiosity 

IT was morning. The Nias was creeping on an easy 
swell through a cold, grey sea towards land. Five 
miles away a narrow strip of sand stretched east and 
west as far as the eye could see, broken here and there 
by groups of casuarina trees marking, the mouths of 
hidden creeks and rivers. Between these estuaries 
mangrove swamps, and beyond, a level, unbroken plain 
of tangled forest, a belt forty miles in width and 
hundreds of miles in length, impenetrable, impassable 
save by river craft. 

Over all hung a dense canopy of mist. 

The sun rose, and with it came into view range 
upon range of knife-edged ridges; behind these a 
mighty rampart of rock, black, and apparently impreg- 
nable, showed hard and clear against the sky. Owing 
to the early morning haze and the great distance, but 
little of the great cliff could be distinguished beyond its 
bold outline. The regular and unbroken crest fell 
steadily away towards the west until it vanished into 
the valley dividing the so-called Snowy Range from 
the Charles Louis Mountains, and in the east reached 
its highest point in Mount Carstensz. 

Carstensz, with its many peaks of nearly equal alti- 

40 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

tude, grew in splendour as the icy pinnacles, snowfields, 
and glaciers caught the rays of the rising sun. It was 
a magnificent spectacle, this 14,000 feet of rock capped 
by 2000 feet of snow. Glaciers rolled down the slopes, 
broken by occasional chimneys of black rock, which, 
far from lessening the effect, only helped to bring 
into more vivid contrast the virginal whiteness of the 
snow. 

In conjunction with, and immediately to the west 
of this great mass, lay a gently undulating snow field, 
and beyond that again another group of snow-clad 
peaks, now named after the Governor-General of the 
Netherlands India. 

Gaze as we might, in vain could we discover any- 
thing of the lie jrf the rivers or of the general trend of 
the ridges, nor was there anything to indicate which 
was the -one most likely to be followed by the expedi- 
tion in its progress inland. 

Other events, however, now took place, of sufficient 
interest to stop, for the time being, any speculation as 
to the future. 

A thin column of smoke was rising from the nearest 
promontory, an outpost of the Charles .Louis Range, 
and this, evidently a signal of the approach of danger, 
was repeated with astonishing rapidity every few miles 
along the coast. At the same time a number of canoes, 
laden with savages, shot out from the inlets, paddling 
hard to cut us off, but owing to the AVa.? now shaping 
an easterly course along the coast, the majority were 
soon out of the running, but others, having more 
warning, were able to place themselves directly in the 
track and, waiting till we had passed, followed exci- 
tedly in rear, whilst a few, avoiding a close approach, 

41 



A DOUBTFUL RECEPTION 

remained satisfied with a distant inspection. There is 
no sight more beautiful or more animated all the world 
over than a fleet of these dug-outs, each manned by a 
dozen or more Papuans, who, standing and working in 
perfect unison, drive their frail craft through the trough 
of a choppy sea with mighty strokes of their paddles. 
The fine physique of these men, with their shining black 
skins, their only conspicuous ornament a few white 
feathers in their hair, is shown to the best advantage 
when wielding their paddles, and the whole scene forms 
a perfect example of beauty and force combined. 

Numbers of canoes at v&ying intervals were still fol- 
lowing the ship, when at 3 P.M. Commander van Her- 
werden came to the conclusion that the Mimika River 
had been overshot. This was not to be wondered at, 
as with every mouth and creek exactly like the last, 
the chances of locating the entrance were decidedly 
remote. The relief-ships later on did not experience 
similar difficulties, for a peculiar formation of trees at 
the mouth of the river was sufficient indication of the 
position required. It by no means followed, however, 
that when once they had arrived the stores would be 
landed or the sick removed from the shore, for on more 
than one occasion the heavy surf forbade a landing, and 
the ship was compelled to weigh anchor and depart, to 
the grievous disappointment of all on shore. 

No canoes venturing near or paying any attention 
to our hails, the launch was lowered, and made for a 
spot where numbers of excited and gesticulating 
savages could be seen collected on the sands. Those in 
the canoes were evidently beginning to realise that our 
intentions were peaceable, for before we had gone far 
they began to close in, and it was to them we turned 

42 



FIRST OVERTURES 

for the required information. One canoe in particular 
was signalled out, not so much on account of its greater 
size, but because of some bright bunting seen waving 
from the stern. To our intense surprise, a nearer 
approach showed this to be a pilot's Union Jack which, 
before we got to close quarters, was taken down and 
stowed away, probably from fear that it might be 
seized. Try as we would, we were never able to per- 
suade these people to bring it forth for our inspection ; 
when asked for it, they simply expressed complete 
ignorance of what we desired, a simple and effective 
subterfuge owing to our limited knowledge of the 
language. Possibly it might have told a tale they 
thought it better that we should not know. We chose, 
however, to look upon the augury as a good one, and, 
steaming alongside, beckoned to the most important- 
looking individual in the canoe to come into the launch, 
a feat he was nothing loatb to perform. Without 
uttering a word, he proceeded to shake hands all round, 
including in his attentions the engine-driver and 
stokers, giving the ordinary hand-grip to commence 
with, but immediately snatching his fingers away. The 
Papuans of this district, as we afterwards found, occa- 
sionally greet one another in this fashion, but more 
often with both hands, and if this does not show suffi- 
cient warmth they add a kiss. 

The word Mimika was sufficient for our newfound 
guide to point to a promontory some two or three miles 
to the west. He accompanied us on board the Nias, 
and comported himself with perfect decorum, as, 
indeed, was only to be expected, for he turned out to 
be the chief of the village of Nimd, and the most import- 
ant individual in the district. There was, however, 

43 



BOARDED JbJY SAVAGES 

nothing in his style of dress to distinguish him from 
his followers. 

Seeing their chief step on board with every sign of 
confidence, the rest were encouraged to follow his 
example, and within a minute the gangway was 
blocked with a seething mass of savages. No signs of 
fear were displayed, no shyness, and no undue curiosity 
the one idea was to set foot on board ; and it was 
evident they had been treated with such consideration 
when visited by the Dutch ship three years previously 
that the arrival of the white man gave rise to no feelings 
of fear or suspicion. 

On they came, boatload after boatload, till a 
hundred naked savages were grouped in a compact 
mass on the deck. For the moment they had obtained 
their heart's desire and were satisfied, but soon the 
bolder spirits began to trickle away down below, to 
emerge shortly afterwards dressed in the cast-off cloth- 
ing of the Malay firemen, horrible and ludicrous 
examples of how the human form can be disfigured. 
Broad grins suffused their faces, not unmixed with 
pride, when their now naked-looking companions gazed 
with jealous eyes upon these acquisitions. The anchor 
was soon raised, and within an hour a fresh berth had 
been taken up in three and a half fathoms of water, and 
two miles from the mouth of the Mimika River. 

At dusk the captain gave orders for the ship to be 
cleared, but in this he had reckoned without his guests. 
Determined to spend the night on board, the canoes 
had been sent away as soon as the owners had set foot 
on deck, thus removing the only possible means of com- 
munication with the shore. Three newly arrived canoes 
were, however, commandeered, and into them as many 

44 



EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR 

Papuans as possible were driven, and as it was out of 
the question to force the remainder to reach dry land 
by swimming, particularly as the sea was full of sharks, 
we had perforce to allow many to remain on board. It 
mattered little, as they were behaving themselves in the 
most exemplary manner. A more phlegmatic crew I 
have never seen ; squatting in silent rows, they absorbed 
everything presented from food to the veriest trifles, 
and neither the electric light nor the throbs of the 
engine seemed to cause the least surprise or fear. 

Unaccustomed to late nights they dropped off to 
sleep as soon as darkness came on, tucking themselves 
into one another in long rows, their faces in the same 
direction and their heads resting upon the brass-bound 
steps or any other convenient projection. With day- 
light came dozens of fresh craft, and in these our too- 
clinging friends took their departure. 

Before deciding on our future course of action it 
was necessary, first of all, to examine the river and its 
banks, in order to select some suitable site upon which 
to build the base camp, for when once the stores had 
been landed there would be no possible chance of 
moving to another position. The launch was again 
lowered, and within an hour of daybreak Goodfellow, 
Cramer, and I, together with ten Javanese soldiers and 
the guide of the previous day, were approaching the 
bar across the mouth of the Mimika, on which the surf 
was beating heavily. All went well. Two fathoms of 
water lay over the bar; the enclosed mouth of the 
river opened out into a bay a mile in length and a 
thousand yards in width, with sufficient water to float 
any boat we were ever likely to use* On either hand 
lay the villages of Atabo and Tarok, evidently erected 

45 



INTO THE UNKNOWN 

merely as temporary shelters for those engaged in sea fish- 
ing. Astonished throngs watched us pass in silence, the 
bolder men in the foreground, the women and children 
peeping from behind the mat doors of the huts. These 
showed no fear, though possibly their numbers alone 
gave them confidence ; as we progressed up stream the 
occupants of odd canoes encountered fled terror-stricken 
into the undergrowth at the first sign of the white man, 
in two instances leaving their canoes drifting helplessly 
on the current of the stream. 

Mangrove trees covered the banks, their bare roots 
-projecting in a tangled mass from a sea of slimy mud, 
over which no man could move. This growth gradu- 
ally gave place to vegetation requiring a more solid 
foundation beneath which scrub jungle appeared, be- 
coming more and more dense the further we advanced. 
Up beautiful stretches of the gently winding river we 
passed, cheered by distant views of the mountains and 
the snows of Carstensz, at this early hour clear of cloud. 
Dank and gloomy creeks opened out on either hand, 
in the smallest of which fishing-nets could be seen so 
placed as to entrap the fish on the falling of the tide. 
Slimy, evil-smelling mud covered the land, silent evi- 
dence of the inundation which took place at every tide ; 
everywhere roamed countless numbers of crabs, large 
and small, together with a species of climbing fish 
which, with swift strokes of its tail and fins, sought 
cover amidst the roots, or, if on a branch, flopped 
noisily into the water. Overhead passed white cocka- 
toos, screaming with fear, their yellow crests distended 
with surprise; egrets, tree ducks, pigeons, flocks of 
beautiful but noisy parrots and lories, and innumer- 
able other varieties of bird life. On the bank basked a 

46 




A FOREST IMPASSABLE FOR MAN 

The four-mile belt of mangrove swamp along the coast ; showing the tidal mark. 







WAR ATI MI VILLAGE 

A village situated opposite to the base camp, and noted for perpetual strife and drunken brawls. 



THE MIMIKA RIVER 

small alligator, whilst water-snakes, making for the 
nearest cover, now and again rippled the glassy surface 
of the water. This highway of the island teemed with 
animal life, startled into activity by the unwonted 
apparition of a steam launch. 

Three miles from the mouth the river divided ; the 
Mimika proper still flowed from the north, while from 
the west entered the Watuka, with a volume three 
times as great as the former and of a milky colour, a 
fairly certain proof that its source was in the distant 
mountains. The Mimika was but a tributary, and, to 
judge by its dark and oily waters, a jungle-fed stream, 
with its origin to be found not amidst the distant 
snows or even the highlands of the lower ranges, but 
probably in the marshy levels of the low-lying plain. 
Still, as the Watuka came from the west and our 
course lay evidently to the east, in the direction of the 
snow mountains, no apparent object was to be gained 
by changing to that more prepossessing looking river. 
The Mimika had been selected as the line of advance 
whilst we were in Java, and to this decision we had to 
adhere, there being no river transport at our disposal 
wherewith to prospect for other routes should the one 
chosen prove unsatisfactory. The Mimika had by now 
shrunk to a width of about a hundred yards, the slimy 
banks being covered to the water's edge with a tangled 
mass of creepers and cacti, and evidently, even at this 
distance from the sea, subject to periodic inundations. 

Not a soul was to be seen. The river seemed as 
deserted as the grave. This was due either to fear, 
or more probably had been arranged by the savages 
in order to afford a more striking welcome, for, as our 
launch suddenly rounded a bend in the river, a wild 

47 



AN ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME 

yell from the banks burst upon our ears, immediately 
followed by the appearance of a dozen well-filled 
canoes. Without awaiting our closer approach, every 
man cast himself backwards into the river, only to 
scramble on board again and repeat the performance, 
which might have gone on for ever had we not rapidly 
steamed through the fleet. Escorted by their canoes 
we turned into a straight stretch of water, at the far 
end of which the cocoa-nut palms of a village could 
be distinguished, the rising smoke showing where the 
huts lay. This was Wakatimi, spoken of by the 
Dutch, and near which place Goodfellow had hoped to 
find a convenient site for the base camp. 

The excitement was intense. Men, women, and 
children poured down to the banks of the river, adding 
their clamour to that of our escort in the canoes. No 
welcome could have been more enthusiastic, and few 
sights more astonishing. The women cast themselves 
into the mud, rolling over and over and plastering 
themselves from head to foot, while the men and boys 
preferred the cleaner operation of throwing themselves 
backwards into the water. The women, now hardly 
to be recognised as human beings, but delirious with 
joy and excitement, started an inartistic dance, going 
down on hands and feet and wriggling their bodies 
from side to side with their sterns waving in the air ; 
their chief desire appeared to be to throw as much 
movement into that part of their anatomy as the 
position would allow. The moment we set foot on 
land the women and children fled for safety to their 
huts, diving into them like a lot of rabbits into their 
burrows, and there remained, rows of frizzy heads and 
gleaming eyes being the only evidence of their existence. 

48 



WAKATIMI 

Wakatimi itself consisted of one long row of about 
a hundred huts placed side by side and touching one 
another, so that the whole village somewhat resembled 
a single room. In front of the habitations ran the 
main street, bordered on the river side by a thick row 
of cocoa-nut palms. Small muddy creeks led from the 
river to the trees, and in these minute harbours rested 
the canoes. Cleanliness was not practised in any form, 
the refuse of the huts and the remains of the feasts 
being cast into heaps close by; over these roamed 
boys, pigs, and dogs seeking for food or a point of 
vantage from whence to survey the scene. Unlike 
other districts of New Guinea, where the house is 
almost invariably erected upon piles, the huts are here 
built upon the ground and are of the rudest possible 
description. A more permanent form of building is 
not favoured by the natives of these districts, for the 
heavy rainfall, playing havoc with any ground cleared 
of vegetation, often changes the course of the rivers ; 
and, in addition to this, owing to each district being 
rapidly denuded of its available food-supplies, the tribes 
are obliged to adopt a more or less nomadic life. 
Those living on the coast are less affected by the 
question of food, as fresh fish is always available and, 
even when sago is scarce, suffer little inconvenience. 

Not only in appearance but in reality is the village 
one long room, for a new arrival builds his hut on to 
the end of the row of buildings already standing and, 
when completed, removes the partition. This com- 
munal building, for such it may be conveniently 
termed, may stretch to any length according to the 
amount of ground available and the number of families 
to be housed. 



j> 



A VILLAGE COMMUNITY 

Each family owns its particular doorway, but be- 
yond this there is no privacy or right of possession. 
The floor consists of sand brought from the seashore, 
upon which, to make the place a little more habitable, 
grass mats are laid. Fireplaces are dotted about any- 
where, each family possessing at least one which is 
used primarily for the purpose of cooking, and at night 
as a stove round which the members of the family 
curl for the sake of warmth. Smoke fills the interior 
of the huts, escaping as best it may, blackening the 
walls and human skulls and bones which dangle from 
the roof or are suspended from any convenient pro- 
jection. Of furniture there is none, except for an 
occasional wood pillow, to our minds the most im- 
possible of rests, since it is balanced upon two legs 
and is so decorated with carving as not to leave one 
square inch of smooth surface upon which to rest the 
neck. Encumbering the floor space is an indescribable 
conglomeration of babies, pi-dogs, sago dishes, full and 
empty string bags, bows and arrows, and other objects, 
whilst just outside the entrance, ready for instant use, 
stand the spears and stone clubs, as freely used in 
family quarrels as in repelling a hostile force. 

But I am getting on too fast. Our thoughts at this 
time were focussed upon the one idea of obtaining a 
good site for the base camp, in the choosing of which 
two things had to be remembered. First, to select a 
spot within easy "distance of the sea and yet beyond the 
reach of inundation, and next to see that it was close to 
a native village, from whence it was hoped local labour 
might be obtained for the construction of the huts and 
to pole the canoes up the river. Wakatimi seemed to 
offer both these advantages. From the general air of 

50 



SELECTING A SITE 

permanency which pervaded the village^ it appeared 
unlikely that the site was subject to floods, though it 
was evident, from the great rise in the river which took 
place daily, that we were still within the area of tidal 
waters. The lie of the land led one to believe that 
the effect of the tide was to be felt for many miles 
farther inland, and that a safer site might be found 
higher up the river, but then it was improbable that 
another village existed within a reasonable distance, 
and, moreover, without a launch great difficulty would 
be experienced in communicating with the relief ships. 
On * the bank opposite to the village a possible site 
offered; at this point the river doubled upon itself, 
leaving a peninsula almost surrounded by water. Here 
sanitary arrangements would be more easily supervised, 
and we would be near to, and yet not affected by, the 
Papuan habitations. On this spot Goodfellow decided 
that the stores should be landed and the base camp 
built, as in addition to its other advantages it was of a 
convenient size and only sparsely timbered. 

Having been escorted up and down the village two 
or three times by the able-bodied men, and after in- 
dulging in various amenities (neither knowing the 
other's language), including introductions to the more 
important-looking savages, we crossed to the peninsula, 
and there left Cramer and his men to camp for the 
night and prepare for the advent of the stores and 
building material on the morrow. 

Cramer had a more unpleasant task than was antici- 
pated, as the railing which he at once erected round his 
tents was over and over again pushed to the ground by 
the weight of the ever-increasing number of spectators. 
He spent a most uncomfortable night, but next day 

51 



UNMANNERLY CURIOSITY 

ome relief was experienced by adding to the working 
>arties who, in time, were able to build a palisade 
jufficient to withstand all possible strain. It was not 
:hat the Papuans were offensive; it was simply an 
overbearing desire to see more of the weird race who 
had so unexpectedly come into their midst. Later on, 
as the novelty wore off, their behaviour became less 
pleasant, sulkiness and insolence taking the place of 
curiosity, to such an extent that it was found necessary 
on two occasions to make an example of the offenders. 
Relations then improved, and remained more or less 
friendly to the close of the expedition. 

Drink was entirely responsible for any hostile feel- 
ing displayed, and the cutting down of some of the 
sugar-palm trees in the vicinity of the camp removed 
temptation out of their way. As these trees were used 
for no other purpose than the extraction of beer, this 
involved no real hardship on the villagers. 



CHAPTER IV 

Coast and up-river tribes The Papuan Albinos Native hairdressing 
Personal adornments Native costume Civilisation and morality- 
Compulsory clothingWidow's weeds Male attire Improving nature 
The drunken savage Corporal punishment Treatment of children 
Female subjugation Native diet A curious delicacy A fertile soil 
Native indolence 

THE inhabited portion of the Mimika district con- 
sists of four distinct zones. The most southerly 
is the belt of land twelve miles in width running along 
the coast, and inhabited by the people known as the 
coast tribes. Immediately to the north of this is a 
barren or sparsely tenanted strip of country ; while to 
the north again, but still in the plains, is the zone com- 
prising the territory containing the headwaters of the 
smaller rivers, and inhabited by people usually known 
as the up-river natives. There still remain the lower 
foothills of the main central range of mountains in 
which dwell the small men, or the pygmies, called by 
the plainsmen Tapiros. Of this latter race I shall 
have more to say later on. 

Though the plainsmen live on the same river, and 
are doubtless of the same stock, the coast and up-river 
tribes are at constant enmity, neither branch desiring 
intercourse with the other, nor, except on rare occasions, 
is there any trade between them. With the tribes 
which live directly to the east and west they each have 
the closest relations, though even here they are not too 
demonstrative in their affection when they meet. This 

53 



THE PAPUAN 

is hardly to be wondered at, when it is known that even 
individuals and families of the same village are per- 
petually quarrelling amongst themselves, the slightest 
excuse being usually sufficient to fan into flame the 
smouldering embers of real or imaginary wrongs. 

Physically the Papuan of the Mimika Coast is an 
extraordinarily fine creature, which is all the more 
surprising when the slothful life he leads, the meagre 
food upon which he subsists, and the amount of disease 
prevalent in this swampy district are taken into con- 
sideration.^ The average height is about five feet six 
and a half inches, slightly above that of the average 
European, whilst the chest measurement shows an 
excess of two and a half inches. The muscular develop- 
ment is immense. The arms slightly exceed in length 
those of the Western races, though the lower limbs are 
not so powerfully moulded as the trunk and upper 
extremities. The head is small in circumference, on 
account of the slight development of the occipital pro- 
minence. The jaw is heavy and square, but not 
prognathous. The eyes, set rather close together, are 
dark brown in colour, the iris not hard and distinct, 
but gradually merging into the blotchy light brown of 
the eyeball. The nose is straight, arched, and decidedly 
Semitic in type, the nostrils being flattened, but not to 
the same extent as in the negro. The teeth, as is the 
case with all savages, are strong and regular, and in 
the case of the males often filed to a point. I have 
used the word "filed," but the way in which this 
deformity is effected is by chipping away the sides of 
the teeth with pieces of flints or sharpened shells, used 
in the same way as a chisel)** In colour the Papuan is 
almost coal black, the women being slightly fairer than 

54 



NATIVE HAIRDRESSING 

the men. During our stay we saw three albinos at 
various times, all males. Two of these were full-grown 
men; both possessed hair of a dirty reddish colour, 
while their skins were of a pale whity-pink, with here 
and there patches of a darker hue. Though of good 
physique, the weird colouring and disfiguring blotches 
rendered them altogether repulsive objects. A black 
man always appears dressed, and, from the point of 
decency, requires no clothes, but these two, owing 
to their sickly and uneven colouring, appeared not 
only objectionable but naked as well. The third 
was a baby of about nine months old, of which the 
parents, both coal-black Papuans, were inordinately 
proud. His hair was sandy, and his eyes (practically 
without pigment) of a pale grey colour. In their 
heedless way the parents habitually carry their 
children face uppermost, so that this mite, in the full 
glare of the sun's rays, suffered considerably, judging 
from the way in which he screwed up his eyes. 
V* It is a pity that the Mimika Papuan cuts off that 
magnificent crop of fuzzy hair which is so much re- 
spected and admired in other parts of New Guinea, for 
in so doing he loses much of his natural picturesque 
appearance. This wonderful head covering, which if 
left to itself will provide the owner with a natural 
adornment three or four feet in circumference, is here 
so trimmed that the growth is reduced to, at the most, 
four or five inches. Until our advent knives were 
unknown, and the hair was removed by a slow and 
not altogether pleasant operation, in which the barber 
either made use of a sharpened shell or got rid of the 
superfluous article by placing it on the edge of a split 
cane and rubbing it with a stone until the desired eflfip.nt 

55 



PERSONAL ADORNMENTS 

was obtained. This custom may be of some use from 
the point of view of cleanliness, but it certainly does 
not completely eradicate the objectionable insects so 
prevalent amongst these people. Their hair either 
remains as it leaves the tender mercies of the barber 
or is plaited into small ridges, a fashion that gives an 
uncommonly neat appearance to the wearer, but which 
requires so much time for its completion that days and 
even weeks elapse before it is again taken in hand. 
This custom is mainly confined to the young bloods, 
the older men, being careless as to their appearance, 
prefer to let the hair grow as nature intended it. 
Into the hair is thrust, particularly on festive days, 
a number of white cockatoo's tail feathers, which stand 
out at every angle, and on still more rare occasions 
some brilliantly-coloured flower. In some instances 
many feathers of the same bird are formed into a ray 
standing up all around the head, affording a very 
pleasing effect. The glorious orange plumes of the 
Greater Bird of Paradise are only worn on very im- 
portant occasions, or by the performers at a sing-song, 
thus greatly adding to the picturesqueness of such a 
scene. These feathers are kept in position by a band 
passed round the wearer's brow, or by a kind of crown 
made of plaited grass in which as many as five plumes 
are sported at one time. One or two men encountered 
during the last month of our stay, who said they came 
from another district farther west, wore their hair in 
the form of a half halo, the rays being formed of many 
pieces of cane plaited into the hair, and standing at 
right angles to the scalp. This must have proved 
highly uncomfortable at night, necessitating the use 
of a wood pillow or something upon which to rest the 

56 



NATIVE COSTUME 

neck. Round the biceps, and also above the calf, are 
sewn bands of finely- woven grass, two or three inches 
in width, worked into some pattern by the introduc- 
tion of another strand of bright yellow. No other 
decorations are favoured, except occasionally a string 
of large blue and white beads slung around the 
neck. These beads are often much worn at the 
edges, appear to be of great age, and have most pro- 
bably been brought into the land by the natives 
of the Kei Islands to the south. That these latter 
people do occasionally visit the coast of New Guinea 
is certain, as the Papuans know them by name and 
apparently bear them no enmity. Their probable 
object in coming is to seek for cocoa-nuts with which 
to trade in copra, a valuable commodity in the East. 
^ The women are given to still less self-adornment 
than the men, and, with the exception of a few beads, 
wear nothing but the loin-cloth. This is made from 
the bark of a tree, beaten for hours until it is as thin 
and pliable as paper. A strip is passed between the 
legs and through a string tied round the waist, leaving 
about a foot of the ends pendant in front and behind. 
Poor wretches ! their days are one long round of toil, 
and they have little leisure to think of trinkets or 
decoration. Girls are similarly adorned when very 
young, but boys go about quite nude until they are 
fourteen or fifteen years of age, or even until fully 
grown ; some indeed refuse to wear anything all their 
lives. Nothing obscene or indecent is ever visible to 
the stranger, and the absence of privacy in the com- 
munal home tends to preclude the possibility of im- 
jnoral behaviour at any other time. 

Immorality is one of the evils which spring from 

57 



CIVILISATION AND MORALITY 

civilisation. At present the morals of these natives 
are as nature made them, and will remain so until the 
advent of the trader with unlimited cloth, or of those 
misguided missioners, whose first idea in converting 
the savage to Christianity is to conceal from view, 
behind hideous and non-hygienic garments, the form 
of one of the finest animals in creation. With this 
phase of civilisation, dirt, disease, and vice will take 
root and flourish, to end doubtless here, as elsewhere, 
in the extermination of the aboriginal stock. This 
question of compulsory clothing, insisted upon by so 
many in their efforts to convert the savage to Chris- 
tianity, is the one and only point in proselytising work 
to which I am entirely opposed. In a climate like 
this, where day and night, month in and month out, 
the temperature lies between 70 and 93 Fahrenheit, 
where the heavens pour down an everlasting flood, and 
where the only means of communication are by river 
and sodden jungle paths, can anything be more ridicu- 
lous than to supplement the natural oily skin covering 
of the native by the unhealthy, uncomfortable, and 
ugly garments which custom has decreed civilised man 
must wear? Take Amboina for example. What can 
be more inappropriate than the black alpaca coverings 
worn by the Christian women? One might almost 
weep at the sight were it not so ludicrous. I am glad 
to see that the Administrator of British New Guinea 
has lately issued a warning to all natives against the 
prevailing craze for European clothing. Let us hope 
that it may bear fruit. Apart from this minor point, 
however, there is no portion of the earth's surface 
where the teaching of the great message, "love one 
another," is more urgently required, 

58 



MALE ATTIRE 

If dress can be looked upon as a source of pleasure, 
widows in Papua are to be envied, inasmuch as they 
are required to adopt outward and visible signs of theii 
bereavement. A widow of standing will decorate her- 
self with a short and scanty bodice of woven grass , 
which leaves the stomach bare, while from the hips 
will hang a still more ragged form of skirt, usually 
in an unspeakably dirty state. Surmounting all is 
a peculiarly-shaped poke bonnet, made of the same 
material, which fits tightly to the head and projects in 
front as much as a foot ; unless the lady wishes to be 
seen, this completely hides her face. Young widows 
are not so careful to conceal their charms, and are 
usually satisfied with the scantiest of skirts in the form 
of bunches of grass hanging in front and behind, and, 
if they fancy it, with more tufts hanging from the 
biceps. As may be imagined, these do not favour the 
bonnet. 

As is to be expected in a country situated on the 
Equator and at the level of the sea, clothing is practi- 
cally non-existent. The style of dress worn by the 
men varies according to the taste of the individual, 
almost all having some form of pubic covering. The 
kind most commonly worn consists of a strip of bark 
cloth, similar to that of the women, but narrower 
and shorter, a large white and flat sea-shell placed on 
the stomach, under which is caught the praeputium, or 
a hollow and beautifully carved bamboo, five or six 
inches in length. On this latter sheath they expend 
all their ingenuity and knowledge of carving, a picture 
of the human eye occupying a prominent position, as 
it does on all household and personal articles. 
v Tattooing is of the crudest description,' and is not 

59 



IMPROVING NATURE 

practised to any great extent ; it usually takes the form of 
scarifying the breasts of the women on the inner sides, 
thus contracting the skin and raising unsightly ridges 
three-quarters of an inch or more in height. Some few 
have their backs cicatrised in a like manner ; the slashes 
are made in any direction and, so far as we could judge, 
without following any definite pattern. This operation 
is performed with, sharp shells heated in the fire ; it is 
a painful process, from which the men are exempt, 
except for the tribal mark which they all have on the 
buttocks, in the shape of a diamond with three lines 
radiating from the corners. The lobes of the ears of 
men and women alike are pierced, and any ornament 
fancied by the wearer is suspended from them. After 
our arrival many of our useless odds and ends, such as 
saccharine bottles, Jew's harps, &c., there found a rest- 
ing-place. The lobes and sometimes the septum of the 
nose are likewise pierced, the initiation ceremony 
taking place when the child is ten or twelve years of 
age ; the hole is kept open by a plug of wood, to which 
a fresh twist is given daily. Aseptic surgery being 
quite unknown, it is not surprising that in many 
instances the septum sloughs away, and the man is left 
with a nose as pointed as a needle. When it is desired 
to impart a particularly fierce expression to the face, 
the split mandible of the hornbill is worn through the 
hole in the septum. This ornament, consisting of two 
thin white blades of horn, each five to six inches in 
length, with the ends curving upwards, will so alter the 
expression of the wearer as to convert the mildest 
looking man into the fiercest and most truculent of 
warriors. 

These savages, violent and hasty in temper, rush to 

GO 




WIDOW'S WEEDS 

A widow in her weeds of tufts of grass and plaited bodice 



THE DRUNKEN SAVAGE 

arms on the slightest provocation. Without warning, 
a peaceful village is in a moment converted into a scene 
of turmoil and strife ; spears whizz through the air, 
clubs are wielded indiscriminately and with murderous 
intent, while the place resounds with wild yells of all 
and sundry. It is curious that the members of small 
communities such as these cannot live together in 
harmony. Wakatimi was a particularly guilty village 
in this respect, a day rarely passing without noisy and 
sanguinary broils, and it was drink which was largely 
responsible for this state of affairs. Beer-drinking 
parties set out daily for the popular spot where the 
sugar palms grew and remained there for hours, return- 
ing sodden with alcohol to the village in a fit state to 
participate in any brawl or devilment which might be 
on foot. Two small boys usually accompanied each 
party to climb and tap the sugar-palms and make 
themselves generally useful. The return to the village 
was heralded by loud and discordant cries and much 
singing, followed soon after by wife beating, house 
burning, or some such attractive form of amusement. 
One case, however, I must mention, which shows that 
here, as in other more civilised parts of the world, 
when a married couple quarrel, it is not always the 
.man who has things all his own way. 

The headman of Wakatimi, a pleasant enough 
creature when sober, invariably wanted to fight when 
under the influence of drink, and usually chose his wife 
as the object upon which- to work off his feelings. 
Returning one day from a carouse, he seized his bow 
and arrows and used his wife as a target. But the 
trees of the village were in the way, so taking to his 
canoe, he pushed off into the open stream and started 

61 



CORPORAL PUNISHMENT 

his practice afresh. What with the lurching of the 
canoe and a muddled brain the shooting was decidedly 
poor, and this enabled his wife to stand in comparative 
safety upon the bank and dare him to do his worst. 
Satisfied with the brave show, and having exhausted 
his stock of arrows, he returned to the shore, little 
dreaming of the reception which awaited him. Scream- 
ing with rage, the infuriated wife tore the bow from 
his hands and broke it into splinters over his back 
and over the canoe. Completely cowed, he turned 
and cooled his heated head in the water, and was 
then driven, an abject and pitiable wreck, to their hovel, 
whilst his angry spouse followed him up and improved 
the occasion with an endless stream of Billingsgate. 
^ Fathers and mothers are alike kind to their 
children. As is natural, during babyhood the mother's 
affection is the stronger, but at the age of five or six 
the boy frees himself from such trammels, goes out 
when he wishes, does what he chooses, and merely 
returns to the family hut for his due allowance of 
sago and fish, or occasionally to refresh himself at the 
maternal breast. Girls are more timid, cling closely 
to their mothers, and join at an early age in the daily 
labour in the sago-swamps; they rarely leave their 
mothers until the time comes for them to found a new 
home and family of their own. Boys appear more 
numerous than girls ; possibly, as in Tibet, a provision 
of Nature to keep down the population. The children 
are well-behaved little creatures; they know better 
than to behave disrespectfully to their fathers or to 
anyone bigger than themselves, and never hesitate to 
obey an order. They are consequently treated with 
kindness and are only beaten on rare occasions, and, 

62 



TREATMENT OF CHILDREN 

from what I have seen, only when they deserve it. 
Uncontrollable temper is their besetting sin ; an 
obstreperous boy, wild with rage at being thwarted, 
will defy his mother and all his female relations. For 
a time every persuasive epithet is used to reduce him 
to submission, and not till all peaceful means have 
been exhausted is corporal punishment resorted to. 
It then descends like a tornado in the form of a 
shower of blows from the irate mother, sufficient 
to drive all breath from the body and thus ensure 
silence and submission. I never saw a girl struck. 

Justice, as we understand the term, is unknown. 
Here, might is right, and it is entirely in the hands 
of the stronger to settle what is right and what is 
wrong. Woman, the weaker creature, is consequently 
relegated to a very inferior position, and is, in fact, 
the .slave, body and soul, of her lord and master, 
becoming his property to deal with as he pleases. 
Condemned to toil from morning till night, beaten if 
she does not satisfy his every want, the wife seeks for 
and prepares her master's food, builds his hut, makes 
the matting and bark cloth for his bedding and his 
clothing, carries his household goods from place to 
place and helps to pole his canoe. Her chastity is of 
no value in his eyes, he will offer her to the first white 
man he meets, and probably to all his friends. 

But little ground is cultivated. A few cocoa-nut 
and banana trees and two or three dozen tobacco plants 
are found in the neighbourhood of most villages, but 
the natives depend for their food-supply almost 
entirely upon what the jungle and rivers produce. 
Sago is the staple food, and an unlimited supply is to be 
found in any of the forest swamps. Collection entails 

63 



NATIVE DIET 

much labour, the tree having to be felled before the 
food can be extracted. The simplest and most usual 
way of cooking the sago is by rolling it into balls and 
placing it on the hot embers until warmed through, 
when the outer crust becomes hard. It is quite taste- 
less and gives little pleasure to a civilised palate, but 
that it is nutritious goes without saying, and indeed 
is proved by the splendid physique of the savages. 
The next most important article of diet is fish, and 
this can always be obtained in ample quantities if the 
water is in good condition for fishing, and if sufficient 
perseverance is shown. Along the coast enough fish 
can be caught to supply the needs of the villagers 
with the minimum of exertion. Meat is much appre- 
ciated and eagerly sought after, pig being considered 
the daintiest morsel, then wallaby, cuscus, and casso- 
wary. Now and again a bird is obtained, but this is 
generally the result of luck rather than skill. 
>Ns The above are the chief articles of food, and any 
other supplies which may be brought in are looked 
upon more as occasional luxuries than articles of every- 
day diet These comprise small alligators, tortoises, 
iguanas, snakes, prawns, and last but not least the 
white grubs found in the decaying trunks of the sugar 
palm. These grubs, which are about two inches in 
length and nearly as thick as one's little finger, are to 
be found in tens of thousands in a tree ripe enough to 
support them, and are looked upon as a great delicacy. 
It is a most interesting and rather disgusting sight 
when a lucky finder hauls the trunk of a grub-bearing 
palm down stream and grounds it on the village shore. 
Apparently it then becomes the property of all, or the 
whole village is invited to join in the feast, which 

64 



A CURIOUS DELICACY 

amounts to the same thing. Without loss of time 
every soul man, woman, and child troops down 
to the find, the tiniest tots toddling in rear of their 
elders, all hastening along bent on being in at the 
death, each carrying whatever instrument first comes 
to hand with which to detach a piece of the richly 
laden wood. Others hasten up from more distant huts 
and join the crowd until it resembles a swarm of black 
ants seething round the body of a dead animal. From 
time to time one of them having secured a good slice 
breaks away from the surging mass and departs to 
devour his meal at leisure. For those who remain to 
deal with the main portion of the trunk there is now 
no -time to be wasted, and the wriggling grubs are 
drawn from their holes and popped into their captors' 
mouths as fast as they can be seized. When the tree 
brought in is particularly rich in food the greedier 
natives may be seen with half a dozen squirming grubs 
in each hand, all destined for the same sad end as soon 
as space can be found. The sight is not a pretty one, 
but it is worth watching to see the smile of satisfaction 
upon the faces of the gourmets as they enjoy this un- 
expected addition to their usual monotonous diet. 

Bananas grow well wherever there is light and air, 
but the young shoots of this tree have to be transplanted, 
and though this entails but the lightest labour, they are 
not produced in any quantity except at the village of 
Obota, at the mouth of the Kapare. There are no 
cocoa-nut trees along the upper reaches of the rivers, 
though they form an important item in the food-supply 
of the villages on the coast, and with the exception of 
sago, there is practically no vegetable food found grow- 
ing in a wild state in the forests. There is indeed a 

65 E 



A FERTILE SOIL 

tree bearing a small green fruit resembling a plum in 
flavour and appearance, but this only ripens for a very 
limited period of the year. Small and tasteless figs of 
various descriptions are to be met with, but of such 
poor quality as not to be worth picking, besides which 
a worm appears in them before they ripen. Near the 
villages one occasionally sees one or two bread-fruit or 
papaya trees, but they are few and far between, and no 
trouble is taken to cultivate them. 

The natural richness of the soil is such that even the 
most primitive methods of agriculture would be amply 
rewarded; but in Papua, as elsewhere, one observes 
that where nature is most lavish in her gifts man is too 
indolent to make use of them. That the soil is of 
great natural fertility was shown not only by the 
flourishing gardens, the result of a few months' work 
on the part of the Dutch soldiers and convicts at 
Wakatimi, but also by the luxuriant growth of the 
few seeds planted in our small gardens at Parimau. A 
single pumpkin plant would grow completely over the 
roof of a hut and, spreading to the next, would envelop 
it also in its folds. Rice grew and flourished without 
any attention being paid to it from the day it was 
sown; and beans, planted by our Gurkha escort, 
attained a height of 25 feet within a few months of 
being placed in the ground, and produced a plentiful 
crop to the great satisfaction of the sturdy hillmen who 
had introduced them into the country. 

So rich is the soil that successful cultivation is 
rendered difficult by the great amount of labour 
required to keep the ground clear of weeds and other 
parasitic plants. The vigorous bush springs up im- 
mediately and relentlessly throttles the foreign 

66 



NATIVE INDOLENCE 

importation, so that, without constant weeding, the 
cleared area in a comparatively short time reverts to 
its forest growth ; the indigenous weeds and shrubs 
indeed appear to flourish with renewed vigour on such 
a clearing, as if eager to reconquer the ground tempo- 
rarily wrested from them by the renegade plants which 
exist only to serve the needs of man. Before our 
arrival the primitive tools in the possession of the 
savages made it impossible for any thorough clearing 
of the ground to be successfully carried out, but even 
with proper implements it is most unlikely that their 
natural indolence will allow them seriously to attempt 
the removal of weeds and shrubs which in this country 
of luxuriant growth is an essential preliminary to any 
effort at cultivation. Some axes we left behind, but 
it is highly probable that they are now more fre- 
quently used in family or tribal quarrels than for the 
useful but uncongenial purposes for which they were 
intended, and I do not doubt that the forest has long 
since reclaimed the flourishing gardens which we handed 
over to the villages on our departure. 

Such were the people amongst whom we were to 
pursue our labours for the next fifteen months, and 
such were our first impressions of the unknown country 
into the interior of which no European expedition had 
hitherto penetrated. What lay before us we did not 
know, but through all our struggles and disappoint- 
ments the thought that we were doing something, 
however small, to lift the veil from one of the dark 
places of the earth buoyed us up and gave us courage 
for further effort. 



67 



CHAPTER V 

Shark-fishing Poor sport Barter and exchange A primitive aboriginal 
Ugly rumours Cannibalism An open question -Difficulties of 
pioneering Learning the language A Papuan canoe Buying a fleet 

DURING the days following our arrival at Wakatimi 
the work of transferring the stores from the ship 
to the base camp was carried on without intermission, 
and by the ninth day everything had been landed, and 
the huts were in course of erection. The forest had 
been cleared over an area of a couple of acres not a 
difficult task, as the land there was more sparsely tim- 
bered than at any other spot in the district. 

During the progress of this work, those who were 
still on the ship varied the monotony of their hours by 
fishing for sharks. Having heard that the waters sur- 
rounding New Guinea swarmed with these objectionable 
creatures, we had, when in Batavia, purchased two 
large iron hooks with wire attachments ; these, together 
with a good, strong rope and a few pounds of pork, 
formed a very efficient outfit. Before casting the bait 
overboard elaborate preparations were made, in view of 
the anticipated struggle, to bring a powerful strain to 
bear on the line as soon as the hook was well home. 
The fishermen had but a few minutes to wait before a 
steady pull on the line showed that a shark had already 
got to work. Many willing hands grasped the rope, 
ready to meet the rush which was expected, but, except 
for a run of a few yards, and half a dozen sullen tugs, 
the fight turned out a fiasco. Two men were all that 
were required to drag the beast alongside ; he was there 

68 



SHARK-FISHING 

despatched with a couple of bullets, and the carcase 
hauled on deck. After much chopping with axes the 
hook was extracted, and the body cut into pieces and 
thrown overboard. Two more were captured in rapid 
succession, the bellies of each filled with cast-away 
portions of their deceased relative, but neither gave 
a better display of strength or courage than the first 
victim, though three or four bullets were necessary to 
finish them off. We were surprised to find that such 
immense and reputedly savage creatures could have so 
little fight in them. The game proved so uninteresting 
that after the capture of the third victim it was aban- 
doned, and this decision was the more readily come to 
as the captain had strong objections to his deck being 
turned into a shambles. When one considers the size 
of these sharks, it is hard to believe that such monsters 
are incapable of putting up a better fight for their 
lives. Though some of the stories one has heard of 
ferocious struggles and desperate rushes made by sharks 
when hooked are doubtless exaggerated, many are so 
well authenticated that one must assume that the 
sharks which abound in the seas of New Guinea are 
more cowardly and sluggish than those in other waters, 
where they are considered to afford good sport. None 
of the sharks we caught were small, and though when 
drawn alongside the ship they were quite anxious to 
get away, they did not seem to have sufficient strength 
to do so. They subsist mainly on crabs and what can 
be found on the bed of the sea. The smaller kind the 
natives themselves catch and devour with as much 
relish as they do other and more prepossessing-looking 
fish. Sharks are always put down as savage and vora- 
cious antagonists when they meet man in their own 
element, but from what we were able to observe this 



BARTER AND EXCHANGE 

cannot be considered as universally true. The Papuans 
go far out to sea in their frail craft, and in rough 
weather often get upset ; in fact, this happened to them 
many times whilst hanging around our ship, but on no 
occasion was a man attacked, nor did the natives show 
any fear of such an eventuality. 

While those at sea were enjoying this mild sport, 
those on land had plenty of opportunity to examine 
the people amongst whom they had been cast. As 
they had no idea how long we were to stay in their 
country, the Papuans displayed great anxiety during 
the first few weeks to take our rubbish in exchange 
for their most valued possessions. At this time 
everything new was precious in their eyes, however 
useless in reality. Little enough they had to barter, 
but what they brought was eagerly sought for by the 
collectors, or, if it was in the shape of food, by the 
soldiers and coolies. Paddles, bows and arrows, carved 
prows of canoes, stone axes and clubs, cocoa-nuts, crabs, 
bits of fish, &c. were readily exchanged for old salmon 
tins, broken bottles, nails, strips of iron off the packing 
cases, matches, and other odds and ends. It was 
quite pitiful to see a bundle of elaborately carved and 
decorated arrow-heads handed over for the coloured 
label off a biscuit tin ; a paddle covered with intricate 
carving exchanged for a bit of broken looking-glass; 
or, as I once witnessed, four or five Ibs. weight of 
fish bartered for a dirty sheet of newspaper. It was 
necessary, however, to keep the prices low to start 
with ; we soon found that the price of labour and other 
commodities rose quite quickly enough, for, with few 
requirements, the indolent savage has no inducement 
to do another stroke of work when once he has obtained 
what he has set his heart upon. 

70 



A PRIMITIVE ABORIGINAL 

For those of us who wished to study the habits and 
manners of the natives, there was ample opportunity 
during the time devoted to building and equipping the 
base camp. We were surrounded day after day by an 
eager throng of savages, numerous enough to have 
swamped the camp had they been allowed to come 
within the fence, their natural reserve forgotten in 
the desire to trade. Endless questions forced them- 
selves upon the mind, and, among others, the one as 
to whether these men were cannibals or not. The 
inhabitants of New Guinea and the islands to the east 
have justly earned a bad reputation with regard to 
cannibalism, but it is open to doubt whether all are 
tarred with the same brush, and whether every tribe is 
addicted to this practice. Opinions differ on this sub- 
ject, but the fact must not be lost sight of that a tale 
of adventure loses nothing in the telling when set in a 
framework of ferocious cannibalismN* The Mimika 
Papuan is, as yet, unaffected by the slow but sure 
advance of civilisation which is by degrees causing 
other races in this part of the world to abandon their 
savage customs, and remains a representative of the 
primitive aboriginal who inhabited the land when 
Australia, New Guinea, and the South Sea Islands 
formed one great continent. 

Swayed by animal instincts, his intelligence is of 
a very low order ; his physique, on the contrary, is 
magnificent, for in this climate it is a case of the sur- 
vival of the fittest. It is in large part due to his 
reputation for treachery, ferocity, and cannibalism, 
which has deterred even the most enthusiastic of 
travellers, that he has existed undisturbed in a state 
of savagery, and that his country has remained unex- 
plored and unmapped up to the present time, 

71 



UGLY RUMOURS 

The history of New Guinea, and of the better 
known British and German sections in particular, 
teems with examples of Papuan cunning and brutality. 
Many are the accounts related of deeds of horror 
perpetrated upon traders, missionaries, gold-diggers, 
and castaways ; many are the thrilling stories of men 
who have been treacherously murdered in sight of their 
friends, or who have mysteriously vanished never to 
return. The larger number of these reports are un- 
doubtedly true, but others are just as surely exag- 
gerated, for the lapse of time, repetition, and the 
natural desire to interest invariably causes the account 
of an event of this kind to become embellished with 
details which in all probability have no connection with 
what actually happened. The following tale, however, 
is undoubtedly true : 

In the year 1858 the St. Paul was wrecked off the 
coast of British New Guinea, three hundred of the 
survivors, all Chinese, being marooned upon a small 
island near Rossel, from whence no escape was possible. 
They were here fed and fattened by the Papuans, and 
when required for consumption two or three at a time 
were taken off to the mainland, where they were boiled 
in a spring of hot water and then eaten. Dr. C. G. 
Seligmann throws some doubt upon the story, and 
maintains that they made rafts and sailed away to the 
east; but Mr. J. H. Murray, who in 1911 carefully 
inquired into the case, states that the Rossel Islanders 
owned up to the murder, and added that when they at 
length became surfeited with a diet of Chinamen they 
hawked the unfortunate survivors round the coast and 
sold them to the highest bidders, all except one who, 
from age or leanness, was unacceptable to even the least 
fastidious taste, and who was allowed to make his escape. 

72 



CANNIBALISM 

Many examples can be quoted, for there is no 
doubt that cannibalism is common in many parts of 
the island, and is practised even in the more settled 
districts when it can be done without coming to the 
notice of the few white officials. The prevalence of 
this custom seems to be due, in the majority of cases, 
simply to the liking for human flesh; sometimes an 
enemy is eaten as an act of revenge, but there is no 
idea that in so doing the good qualities of the deceased 
are acquired. The Milne Bay tribes have been known 
to carry their liking for human flesh to still greater 
extremes, going so far as to dig up and devour freshly- 
buried corpses. Mr. Chalmers relates a story of how 
a Bonarua woman dug up her recently deceased 
husband to feed a friend. This act caused much in- 
dignation at the time, not so much because there was 
considered to be anything wrong in the eating of the 
flesh when exhumed, but because the men of the tribe 
disliked the idea of being devoured by their own wives. 

In the majority of cases the victim is captured in 
battle or by stealth in revenge for some former 
injury though it is not uncommon for organised raids 
to be made for the express purpose of obtaining heads 
as trophies and the bodies for food. If the captives are 
required for the latter purpose care is taken not to kill 
them on the field of battle, but to bind and bring them 
to the village of the conquerors there to be despatched ; 
the way in which this is done varying in accordance 
with the customs of the different tribesx* As a rule, 
the victim is finished off with a club, speared, or, after 
being wrapped in dry leaves, is bound to a tree and 
burnt to death. This latter method is not always 
successful, instances being on record of the victim 
bursting the half-burnt cords, and though dreadfully 

73 



CANNIBALISM 

injured, effecting his escape. In the case of one tribe 
this gruesome custom is not without a touch of uncon- 
scious humour, the members claiming that human 
flesh is preferable to that of pig, as, no matter what 
quantity is eaten, the former never induces indigestion. 

Whether or not the natives of the Mimika district 
are addicted to cannibalism it is impossible to say 
with certainty. Savage races have in many cases been 
accused of this practice on the flimsiest grounds, and 
unless the people own to it themselves, or unmistak- 
able evidence of the fact, such as the finding of remains 
of a feast, charred human bones, or even fractured 
skulls is forthcoming, it is hardly just to write them 
all down as cannibals. The custom of filing the front 
teeth to a point, which is practised by so many tribes 
in different parts of the world, and often assumed by 
travellers to be a sign of cannibalism, is also general 
amongst the natives of the Mimika district ; this, we 
believe, is done, however, because they consider that 
pointed teeth improve a man's appearance, and not 
with the idea of enabling them to tear human flesh 
with greater ease. 

The natives, when questioned by us on the subject 
of cannibalism, at times showed abhorrence, and on 
other occasions appeared to be merely amused at the 
idea. Once or twice during our stay, when trouble 
was brewing with other villages and a fight seemed 
imminent, we asked them what punishment they would 
mete out to their enemies. With a wealth of most 
realistic gestures to explain their meaning, they replied 
that they would cut their throats, slice open their 
stomachs, or cut off their limbs. To our question : 
Would they eat them ? " Yes ! yes ! " was the un- 
hesitating reply. It seemed to us, however, that in 

74 



AN OPEN QUESTION 

speaking thus, they were actuated more by bravado 
than by any real intention of celebrating their expected 
victory by a cannibalistic feast. Skulls suspended by 
string from the roof and blackened by smoke were to 
be seen in every hut. Sometimes the skull and larger 
bones of the body were kept together in woven grass 
bags ; and there can be no doubt that these belonged 
to deceased relatives, for on several occasions we 
were able to witness the collection and storage of 
remains of natives who had died during our stay. 
Moreover, none of the skulls showed signs of fracture, 
as would have been the case had they been obtained 
in battle. Nor did we ever discover any charred bones 
or other traces of human feasts. To conclude this 
subject, while we were in the Mimika district we were 
unable to come to any definite conclusion as to the 
existence of cannibalism, and at that it must rest until 
further investigation settles the matter one way or 
another. 

During the building of the base camp one of our 
chief difficulties was to protect the more perishable 
stores from the heavy rain which fell regularly at 
four o'clock every afternoon, and lasted for two or 
three hours. In spite of every care, much food was 
ruined owing to the tarpaulin coverings giving no 
better protection than would cotton handkerchiefs. 
Cramer and his Javanese were better off in this respect, 
as they were provided with ready-made mats and the 
bamboo framework for huts, and so had no difficulty 
in rapidly erecting dry and airy go-downs. 

Our chief preoccupation at this time, however, was 
to find a route to the north, and the means of trans- 
porting our stores to the head of the river. How far 
off this lay, and in what direction, we were unable to 

75 



DIFFICULTIES OF PIONEERING 

discover, for at this period, owing to our entire ignor- 
ance of the dialect, we had no means of questioning the 
natives and of obtaining the information we required. 
Furthermore, no one had ever been in this part of the 
country before, and there was no known basis on which 
to start the most elementary conversations. 

The language of signs, however, possesses a rich 
vocabulary in which one soon becomes proficient when 
the necessities of life are required, and it was to this we 
turned in our desire to obtain river transport. Fortu- 
nately, the natives were for the time being wild on 
barter, and anxious not only to dispose of their super- 
fluous trifles, but everything they possessed. In India 
the conversation of the native in the bazaars almost 
invariably turns upon the subject of pice or ghi, and 
similarly in this land of New Guinea the favourite topics 
of discussion are either flesh or the articles in daily 
use. Nevertheless, in spite of the lack of ideas and 
the limited vocabulary the difficulty experienced in 
dividing and classifying the words passes belief, for 
never twice would the same word be used for the same 
object. Slowly, and with infinite patience, a list of 
the commoner articles was compiled, our dictionary 
becoming gradually more complete as time went on. 
At this work Wollaston and Cramer showed the 
greatest aptitude, and on their shoulders at this period 
rested the principal burden of conversation. Not a 
single Javanese, soldier or convict, ever learnt a word 
during the whole time they remained in the country, 
but certain of the Gurkhas showed considerable in- 
genuity in making themselves understood. A few 
common Malay words were adopted by the Papuans, 
and these being easy to pronounce, the corresponding 
words in the native dialect ultimately fell into disuse. 

76 



LEARNING THE LANGUAGE 

Many months were to elapse before we could make 
ourselves readily understood, even on the most ordinary 
topics, though it was a comparatively simple matter, 
and one only requiring patience to discover and learn 
the names of the various articles ; verbs, adjectives, and 
adverbs are also necessary to build up a sentence, and 
great difficulty was experienced in extracting these 
from the string of guttural sounds, and in obtaining 
their correct meaning. The natives never seemed to 
grasp the fact that we desired to learn their language ; 
at times they appeared delighted with our attempts at 
conversation, but more often they would listen with a 
bored and abstracted look. Even in their happiest 
moods it was found impossible to keep their attention 
fixed on one subject for many minutes at a time. 

The purchase of canoes was quite a simple matter, 
the word " Koo " being quite sufficient to express what 
we required, whilst the article to be exchanged, when 
examined (but not touched) by the natives, determined 
the price. Before the end of the first week a fleet of 
ten of these craft had come into our possession. 

It may not be out of place to describe these canoes 
more fully, if only to show that the Papuans must be 
possessed of greater energy and skill than they are 
usually credited with. Each canoe is from fifty to 
sixty feet long, or even more in length, and two to two 
and a half feet in width, and is fashioned from a single 
tree trunk. The bows slope gently away so as to 
form a convenient platform for the use of the pole, 
whilst in the stern, where the wood is of greater thick- 
ness, a cross beam two to three inches high is left, 
against which sand is heaped for use as a fireplace. 
Both bow and stern, and in many cases the sides also, 
are carved, and on festive occasions planks of wood, 

77 



A PAPUAN CANOE 

elaborately fretworked, are fixed upright in the bows, 
whilst the sides are decorated with pendant fringes of 
grass. The crew consists of from six to twelve men, 
who paddle, standing up, and it is a fine sight to see 
them drive their canoe through the water with power- 
ful and properly-timed strokes. Europeans may wonder 
how the balance is preserved in what, at first sight, 
appears to be an exceedingly rickety and unseaworthy 
craft; but after a little practice this becomes a very 
simple matter. 

Some idea may be formed as to the immense amount 
of labour required to build one of these canoes when it 
is understood that, for shaping and hollowing out the 
tree, the only tool available is the primitive stone axe, 
whilst more intricate parts are finished off and carved 
with sharpened shells and a small bit of iron, probably 
obtained by barter on the coast. Trees of suitable size 
and shape to be fashioned into a boat are few in 
number, and are as a rule only to be obtained from 
the innermost recesses of the forest. The felling is a 
laborious process, stone axes making but little impres- 
sion on the hard wood. When levelled, the tree is cut 
to the correct length and roughly shaped, after which a 
track has to be cleared through the forest to the river 
bank and rollers laid along it. Finally, with the com- 
bined efforts of the whole population, the giant log is 
hauled and rocked along until the river is reached. The 
rough-hewn canoe is then towed to the village beach, 
where it is again hauled high and dry, and the weary 
task of shaping and hollowing commenced. When this 
is complete the sides are carved and the bottom burnt 
in order to keep out the boring insects which quickly 
invade all dead timber in this climate. Then comes 
the ceremony of launching and the trial run, during 

78 





"2 

w 

5 
9 



cq 

Ed 

o 

25 

(3 



I 
I 

01 

fcfl 

a 

i 



BUYING A FLEET 

which the builders are easily distinguishable amongst 
the excited throng by their complacent and self-satisfied 
demeanour. 

So keen were the natives on trading that, on our 
arrival, the pick of these boats could be purchased for a 
knife and a handkerchief apiece, but the demand was 
continuous, and the price steadily rose till an axe had 
to be given, and towards the end of our stay even the 
offer of two axes sometimes failed to clinch the bargain. 
Wakatimi was soon sold out, but the news spread, and 
before long other canoes were brought in for sale from 
the outlying coast villages. 

We were fortunate in obtaining even this primitive 
means of transport, for had the people been hostile or 
adverse to selling, the expedition would have been in- 
definitely delayed at the base. Not one of our men was 
capable of constructing any kind of boat, and it was out 
of the question to attempt to cut a passage to the hills 
through the swampy and almost impenetrable forest 
zone. Nevertheless, we had to submit to a certain 
amount of delay, for when the question of transport 
had been satisfactorily settled the Mimika rose in flood, 
and as we had no launch to assist us, it was found 
impossible to make headway against the current. 

I may here mention that no expedition should ever 
enter New Guinea, essentially a land of water trans- 
port, without at least one launch. We had none, and 
to this was due much loss of time, an endless amount 
of trying manual labour, and a certain proportion of the 
sickness amongst the coolies. The latter, accustomed 
to the slothful life of the East Indian Islands, were 
totally unfit to stand the daily strain of eight hours' 
heavy toil. 

79 



CHAPTER VI 

A missing comrade A fruitless search A heavy blow Unprofitable zeal 
River navigation Collecting a transport The Mimika River Diffi- 
cult navigation River flora River fauna Big game Wallaby and 
cuscus Insect pests Snakes A day of surprises An extraordinary 
welcome 

TANUARY 10 had been fixed upon as the date on 
V which the first prospecting party was to set out, 
and all arrangements had been completed when an 
event occurred which cast a gloom over the camp for 
a long time to come. 

The morning of the 9th opened with a cloudless sky 
which, as we knew only too well, would be succeeded 
by torrential rain in the afternoon. Mr. W. Stalker, a 
keen and successful collector, well known throughout 
Australasia and British Papua, had joined the expedi- 
tion at Amboina, Familiar with jungle life and accus- 
tomed to wandering alone through untrodden paths, he 
left the camp unattended, passing out with the remark 
that he was going to do a little shooting in the vicinity. 
The usual downpour took place about three o'clock, but 
as we heard gunshots from time to time during the 
afternoon, no anxiety as to his absence was felt until 
darkness set in. It was then too late to render assist- 
ance or send out search parties, for the night was pitch 
dark and the lashing rain drowned every sound. No 
natives were at hand, and even had they been there to 
act as guides, it would have been impossible to follow 
any track in such a tremendous downpour. To move 

80 



A MISSING COMRADE 

even fifty yards into the forest after dusk without losing 
one's bearings, new as we were to the country, was a 
task beyond our power. Through the long hours of 
the night we waited anxiously, expecting to hear a 
warning shot or some sound of his return, but, as hour 
after hour passed by and he did not arrive, we could 
only hope that he had found shelter in a native hut. 
Morning dawned, but there was still no sign of our 
companion. 

Lieutenant Cramer at once organised his soldiers 
into small parties and despatched them in various direc- 
tions to clear paths through the dense undergrowth and 
search every foot of the country on either side. Both 
Gurkhas and Europeans turned out, taking charge of 
a few coolies, a separate area of forest being allotted to 
each party, whilst the natives, now aware of what had 
happened, vanished by unknown paths to examine all 
most likely spots. One after another the search parties 
returned to camp, only to report that no trace was to 
be found of our missing comrade. Not a footprint, not 
a blazed tree trunk or a broken twig or even an ex- 
pended cartridge could be seen, nothing which gave 
the slightest clue as to his movements. 

Throughout this and the following day was the 
fruitless search continued, and it was not till the morn- 
ing of the 12th, when two or three Papuans, who had 
gone out in their canoe to fish, found his body in a 
small creek less than half a mile from the camp, that 
we learnt how Stalker had met his fate. Along this 
very creek search parties had moved backwards and for- 
wards several times, struggling through the tangled 
creepers which almost hid the water from view. Stalker 
must have wandered on into the jungle until overtaken 
by the storm and the gathering darkness, and then, 

81 P 



A HEAVY BLOW 

having lost the direction of the camp, instead of settling 
down to spend the night as best he might until a search 
party arrived in the morning, must have tried to fight 
his way back. He had recently suffered from fever, 
and this, combined with the exhaustion resulting from 
his desperate efforts to escape from the entangling jungle 
and swamp, must have so weakened him that at last he 
was incapable of climbing out of the creek into which 
he had collapsed. He was buried the same day, beneath 
the shade of the one large tree left standing in the space 
cleared round the camp. 

His grave was not to remain solitary for long: 
disease and accident were to claim only too many of 
our small community, and here, around the tree, were 
laid all who died during the months which followed. 

Stalker's death was a blow which we felt for many 
a long day. Though he had not been with us for long, 
we knew that we had lost not only a capable and work- 
manlike collector, but also a comrade whom we could 
ill spare. 

The Nias, having landed her stores, returned to 
Dobo to bring on those coolies for whom accommoda- 
tion could not be found on the first trip. Whilst she 
was away, Cramer, Goodfellow and I took the oppor- 
tunity of making a preliminary expedition towards the 
mountains, following the Mimika up-stream in the 
newly purchased canoes. Our first attempt can hardly 
be described as a success, for in two days we had not 
been able to proceed beyond a point six miles from 
camp, where a small branch stream flowed into the 
Mimika. Farther than this the Papuans refused to 
go, in spite of liberal offers of payment, and we were 
obliged to return to our base without having seen a 
hill or gained information of any value. 

82 



COLLECTING A TRANSPORT 

In the meantime the enlisted coolies, one hundred 
in number, had arrived from Dobo. When in Amboina 
I had had a glimpse of these men, but disappointing 
though they looked, they were so disguised beneath 
a covering of black frock-coats, bowler hats, and 
brilliantly-coloured sarongs (a loose skirt), as to give 
no idea of their true value. In these same garments 
they now appeared in the tropical jungle of New 
Guinea, in the land of the naked savage ; and a more 
miserable-looking crew I have never seen. The majority 
were of about sixteen years of age, but it was not so 
much this that shocked us, as that the maimed, the 
halt, and the blind of the East, seemed to have been 
specially selected for the work in hand. So bad were 
they, that it was at once realised that the majority 
would be more certain to hamper the advance than 
account for any work, and that the only thing to be 
done was to retain the least unsuitable and return 
the remainder to Amboina. The hundred were drawn 
up in line, and the medical officers, Wollaston and 
Marshall, proceeded to cast out the radically unfit. 
Fifty were so disposed of, and without delay packed 
into the boats and sent on board the Nias, to be taken 
back to their homes ; I may add, at no slight expense. 
I mention this not in a cavilling spirit, but as a warn- 
ing as to how coolie transport should not be collected 
by future expeditions, and also in simple fairness to the 
members as a reason why the advance into the moun- 
tains was so long delayed. 

The fifty coolies we had retained were entirely 
ignorant of any form of river work, and had such 
strong objections to entering the frail canoes, that 
the boats had to be tied together in pairs before they 
could be persuaded to take their places. The result 

83 



RIVER NAVIGATION 

of this compromise was that, however hard the crews 
paddled, four or five miles was the utmost distance that 
could be covered from sunrise to dusk. With a dozen 
of these gaily dressed Malays and a few fresh natives 
a second attempt was made to explore the Mimika, 
Shortridge in this instance taking the place of Cramer. 
The fleet looked quite imposing as it set forth, but on 
the second day out half the Papuans deserted, and the 
remainder on the day following, so that our men, now 
that the work was thrown entirely upon their shoulders, 
were compelled to take their first serious lesson in river 
navigation. To give them their due, bad as they were 
at the start, many of the imported coolies quickly 
mastered the rudiments of successful river travel and, 
as the months went by, those who survived the strain 
of this arduous and continuous labour, became nearly 
as proficient in paddling as the Papuans themselves. 

The exploration of an unknown river is always a 
matter of interest, and the Mimika, however much we 
grew to dislike the sight of the monotonous waters as 
the novelty wore off, on this, the pioneer journey, was 
full of fascinating charm. 

Of the many rivers in this part of the country, the 
Mimika is one of the smallest ; in fact, as we had already 
discovered on our way up from the sea, it is but a 
tributary of the Watuka, and rises in the low foot-hills, 
twenty miles or more short of the main range, and sixty 
to seventy miles west of Carstensz, in which mountain 
we had hoped its source would be found. The size of 
its mouth, out of all proportion to the amount of water 
entering the sea, had deceived the Dutch three years 
previously, and had induced Goodfellow, on the strength 
of their report, to adopt it as our line of advance to the 
interior, instead of the large and navigable Utakwa, 

84 



DIFFICULT NAVIGATION 

lying many miles to the east. It lies at a lower alti- 
tude than any of the other streams flowing to the south, 
consequently its current is more sluggish, and the turns 
and twists more numerous. In many places the river 
doubles back upon itself to such an extent that it is 
possible to stand on a narrow neck of land with the 
river flowing a few yards away on either hand, whilst 
to bring the canoe from one place to the other, twenty 
to thirty minutes' hard paddling is required. In addi- 
tion to this the flow of water is most irregular and 
entirely dependent on the local rainfall, being unaffected 
in any way by what falls on the highlands of the main 
range. One day a swirling torrent, the next the river 
may have dwindled to the veriest trickle, forming 
nothing but a series of pools joined by shallow runs. 
Under ordinary conditions a launch can be navigated 
for a distance of ten or twelve miles above Wakatimi, 
and when the water is exceptionally high, as much as 
twenty to twenty-five miles ; in the latter case, how- 
ever, there is always the risk of the waters suddenly 
falling and leaving the boat stranded high and dry, 
without a prospect of release until a fresh flood comes 
down. A more difficult river upon which to maintain 
a continuous service of transport canoes it is impossible 
to imagine, for when in flood poling of the boats is out 
of the question, as no bottom can be found and paddles 
are useless to force a way against the current, whilst, if 
the water is low, the heavily-laden boats have to be 
hauled along by main force, over mud and gravel slopes, 
rocked over huge trunks of trees, or forced beneath 
masses of tangled foliage. When, as the result of con- 
tinuous rainfall, the flood is on a large scale, the whole 
of the surrounding country is inundated to such an 
extent that no ground remains exposed upon which to 

85 



RIVER FLORA 

camp. Nothing is to be seen but the forest on either 
hand and the immediate stretch of water in front and 
behind, nor does the traveller ever catch a glimpse of 
the mountains to which he knows he is drawing nearer 
day by day. 

Upon the dank and mud-covered banks flourishes 
the most dense and luxuriant vegetation imaginable, 
containing specimens of almost every tree and shrub 
to be found in the tropics Pandanus, Artocarpus, Erio- 
dendron, Albizzia moluccana Ficus of many varieties, 
sago, Octomoles moluccana, and all bound into a 
tangled impenetrable mass by innumerable rattans 
and creepers. Although relieved now and again by 
a blaze of the scarlet Mucana pruriens, the effect of 
this sombre bank of dark green is anything but an 
inducement to the traveller to explore the swampy 
land hidden below and beyond. 

The great difficulty experienced in transporting 
stores over the six stages between the base camp 
and the up-river station necessitated a regular service 
of canoe convoys being maintained on the Mimika 
throughout our stay in New Guinea, and the deadly 
monotony of the journey made this the most un- 
popular of all the duties. Still there was always 
something of interest to be observed in the animal 
life which infested this waterway, serving to relieve 
the mind from the perpetual rhythm of the paddles, 
and giving one something else to watch besides the 
erratic movements of the polers balancing themselves 
in the bows. Alligators, though seldom of large size, 
bask on the sandbanks at the bends of the river ; they 
are never aggressive, and are very different in this 
respect from those to be found in the rivers of Borneo 
and in other parts of New Guinea. There is no doubt 

86 



RIVER FAUNA 

that some obtain to a great size* One immense creature 
was seen on various occasions opposite Wakatimi, its 
appearance stirring the hunters to life, but rousing 
no fear amongst the children splashing about in the 
water ; the latter, in fact, looked upon it as giving an 
additional zest to their games. Iguanas, large, hideous 
and uncouth, dart from cover to cover ; occasionally 
a turtle flops lazily from the mud into the water ; and 
perhaps, a few yards farther on, a poisonous water- 
snake is seen wriggling his way along the surface of 
the stream to the shady bank where safety is to be 
found. It is impossible to resist the temptation of 
striking at these reptiles, for it looks as if one blow 
of the paddle would kill them instantly. As a 
matter of fact it is almost impossible to kill them 
when swimming, and it is better to leave them in 
peace when thus found, for when struck they make 
straight for the canoe, and with a particularly rapid 
rush try to clamber up the sides. A poisonous snake 
in a closely-packed canoe is not a pleasant companion. 

At any moment on rounding a bend one may see 
a pair of crown pigeons (goura), each as large as a 
small turkey, their grey-blue crests opening and clos- 
ing and their orange-red eyes glittering with anxiety. 
They are ground feeders and eat anything, even crabs. 
It is one of the most beautiful birds in existence, one 
of the most foolish, and, from the point of view of the 
hungry traveller, one of the most valuable. A flash 
of blue and a kingfisher darts past, a vision of exquisite 
turquoise ; some species as small as a tit, others as large 
as a thrush. Overhead pass a pair of hornbills, always 
suspicious and always noisy, looking every moment as 
if they would overbalance, so heavy and cumbersome 
are their heads. These birds invariably move in pairs, 

87 



BIG GAME 

the black-necked female in front, the yellow-necked 
male following, except in the breeding season, when 
the hen is imprisoned in some hole in a tree and 
there detained during the egg-hatching period by the 
male, who, distrusting his mate's sincerity in her 
work, plasters up the aperture with mud, leaving but. 
a small opening through which he administers food to 
his hungry spouse. The whirring clouds of lories and 
chattering parrots, the shrill cries of the gorgeous birds 
of paradise, and the twitterings of endless other species 
of birds, lend a charm to water travel which would 
otherwise be insupportable in its monotony. 

Now and again bigger game is encountered. Pig, 
both brown and black in colour, imported into the 
land centuries ago as village swine, are to be found 
throughout the length and breadth of the country 
running in a wild state, and strenuously hunted by 
the savages; the cassowary, the great black ostrich- 
like bird with a head and neck of many colours ; the 
night-loving cuscus, creeping slowly from bough to 
bough, brown, yellow, white, and all colours of the 
rainbow all good for food from the point of view 
of the native, and all very shy, retreating to the inner- 
most recesses of the forest on the first sign of danger. 
Sometimes a tree will be seen laden with flying 
foxes, hanging head downwards, and the females with 
their young fixed firmly to their breasts ; horrid, un- 
natural-looking creatures with their slow heavy flight, 
claws, and beady eyes. 

, Then there is the wallaby, a small prototype of the 
kangaroo. Twice were they shot on the river and 
brought into camp, and when being skinned were 
found to have young in their pouches. One of these 
babies was over 10 inches in length, but too small to 

88 



WALLABY AND CUSCTJS 

be brought up by hand. He was perfectly formed 
and uninjured, but would never have lived without the 
warmth his mother could always give him. It was 
pitiable to see the little creature when placed on the 
ground, make for his dead mother and at o.nce worry 
his way into her pouch and out of sight. The other 
was no bigger than a small walnut, and yet had been 
born and was to be developed by the milk from the 
teats which lie inside the pouch. It is a pity we never 
secured one of these animals alive and uninjured, of an 
age at which there was a good chance of its being 
brought up alive, as with their soft fur, large brown 
eyes and gentle disposition they would certainly 
make the pleasantest of pets. Very different was it 
with the cuscus (phalanger) captured. Nastier little 
animals it is impossible to imagine. Snappish, with 
jaws of steel and claws like fish-hooks, they bite when- 
ever given a chance, and tear one's skin to bits. 
They would never stay on the ground for a moment, 
making for the first pole or tree they saw, from which 
they had to be forcibly dislodged* All escaped sooner 
or later, either forcing the bars of their cages or eating 
their way through, and no one showed undue sorrow at 
their departure. 

There is, however, another and more disagreeable 
side to life on the river which almost outweighs the 
pleasures to be derived from the sight of birds and 
mammals. Over the dark and stagnant pools, on the 
mudbanks and in the forest, hover clouds of mosquitoes, 
whose ruling instinct, as we learnt to our cost, is the 
quest for human blood. Fortunately for man, the 
anopheles mosquito, the carrier of the malarial germ, 
exists only in moderate numbers, otherwise life would 
be quite insupportable. As it is, the stings and irrita- 

89 



INSECT PESTS 

tions of his brethren are sufficiently maddening to make 
existence burdensome, though some relief is to be 
obtained when halted by clearing the scrub in the near 
vicinity of the camp, or at night by seeking refuge 
beneath a mosquito-net. 

In addition to these pests, leeches dangle from 
every leaf and branch, immediately attaching them- 
selves to any part of the body with which they come 
in contact, and, as I veribly believe, dropping on the 
wayfarer when passing beneath, attracted merely by 
the scent of blood. Their bites often result in nasty 
sores which, in this damp climate, do not readily 
respond to doctoring, and sometimes become so bad as 
to necessitate the sufferer being invalided out of the 
country. So insidious is the attack of these hateful 
creatures that one is often unaware of their presence 
till a stream of blood welling through the clothing 
shows that one of them has been sucking blood from 
a vein, in which case a bandage must be applied to stop 
the bleeding. 

The worst of all places for them to attach them- 
selves is the eyeball. So light and unsuspected is 
their attack that on several occasions two or three 
crept between the eyelids without their presence 
being detected, and the first intimation received was 
the blurring of the vision. It is almost better when 
this happens to let them have their fill of blood and 
drop off when satiated, than to remove them by force, 
for less damage is done thereby to the flesh, but in 
-either case very severe inflammation of the eyes is 
the result. 

The worst of all these insect plagues, however, are 
the bluebottles, which are of immense size. What 
they live on is a mystery, but they exist in millions, 

90 



SNAKES 

attacking with ferocity any food left uncovered for 
a second, and swarming in clouds upon any blanket or 
discarded article of clothing, absorbed in the one idea 
of finding a suitable spot on which to deposit their 
eggs. The swarms appear to increase in numbers 
towards sundown, when the hunt for a breeding-place 
reaches its climax, and if any success has been met 
with, the ova become grubs before the morning, a 
never-to-be-forgotten reminder of what a moment's 
forgetfulness means. 

Ticks are fairly plentiful, but never quite so objec- 
tionable as a certain small caterpillar which delights to 
flop on to one's body from the roof, there to eject such 
a pungent odour of formalin as to call for the use of 
soap and much scrubbing before it can be removed. 

Shall I speak of the large crickets which eat one's 
clothes to shreds in a night ; or of the minute bees 
which crawl in myriads over one's skin when heated 
after exercise ? But no ; the list is long enough, and 
the memory of these pests recalls too many unpleasant 
reminiscences to incline one to dwell on their objection- 
able habits. A nice land indeed ! 

To leave the insects alone and to turn to the 
rather less obnoxious inhabitants of the forest, snakes 
are unpleasantly numerous, even for a collector desirous 
of enriching his reptile collection. Many are deadly, 
but amongst these must not be included the largest, 
the python. The finest python killed by us only 
measured fourteen feet, and though much greater ones 
doubtless exist in the island, owing to the scarcity of 
large mammals it is not likely that they ever approach 
in size those to be found in Borneo. Numerous as 
were the poisonous varieties of snakes, there was not 
one single case of snake-bite amongst our followers 

91 



THE EARLY MORNING 

during our stay in the country, although the men invari- 
ably moved about with "bare feet. This is all the more 
remarkable, as the favourite sleeping-places of these 
reptiles are paths made and frequented by man, and 
hardly a day passes without two or three being seen 
and killed on the tracks in the vicinity of the camp. 
The natives showed extraordinary fearlessness in catch- 
ing the poisonous specimens, grasping them behind the 
head before they had time to strike, severing the head 
from the body with a split piece of cane, and popping 
the body into their bags for the evening meal. 

It was in the early morning, when the sun's rays 
first caught the tops of the trees that life was most 
enjoyable; then was the time for the forest to burst 
forth with the music of the jungle ; then was the sky 
free of cloud, while whisps of mist hung over the water 
and the forest was still dark with the lingering shadows 
of the night. Far rosier did life at that hour appear than 
in the late hours of the afternoon when the fatigue of 
the day's work was still upon one, when the rain poured 
down, driven hither and thither by the eddying gusts 
of wind, and when, in addition, the discomfort of un- 
lightable fires and sodden baggage tended to make one 
feel despondent and depressed. Still, it is impossible 
to have the sweet without the bitter, and this our first 
trip into the unknown interior will remain for ever 
stamped in our memories. 

On the fourth and fifth day out we struggled along 
as best we could, each one taking his turn with pole 
or paddle, heaving the boats over sunkei* logs and 
shoals, or carrying them bodily round the worst obstacles. 
This, however, was the last day during which we were 
to labour without help or guidance, for early the next 
morning, when we were at breakfast, a canoe-load of 

92 




i 

V 

^i 

I 



1 



3 9 

H ^ 




D 2 

li 



A DAY OF SURPRISES 

Papuans suddenly swept round a bend, and in a 
moment had grounded their boat close at hand. 
Though noticeably nervous, it was evident that they 
had been warned of our approach, and had grasped the 
fact that our intentions were not hostile, for, after a 
little coaxing, they settled down by our fires and joined 
in the meal, all the time urging us to make haste on 
the next stage. 

The morning was to be full of surprises. Two 

miles farther on, when we were still thinking how 

infinitely pleasanter it was to be poled up the river 

than to have to do the work oneself, a band of women, 

whose sole coverings were girdles of leaves plucked 

from the undergrowth, burst forth from the forest, and 

raced over a mud flat towards us, uttering weird and 

discordant cries. Choosing the muddiest spot, they 

flung themselves headlong into the filth, and, still 

maintaining the chorus of wild yells, rolled over and 

over, smearing the slime over their faces and into their 

hair. Having made themselves perfectly repulsive to 

our eyes, they fell a-dancing, evidently with the object 

of captivating our affections, but just as they were 

reaching the highest pitch of excitement, a signal from 

the men brought them to a dead stop. Complete 

silence ensued, and then all, men and women alike, 

standing quite still, placed their hands over their eyes 

and burst into tears. Such agonised weeping and such 

heart-breaking wails it has never been my lot to listen 

to before or since. One moment there would be a 

succession of gasping sobs, to be followed by a series of 

ear-piercing shrieks, the bodily and mental exertion 

being so great as to cause the tears to pour down their 

cheeks, and great beads of perspiration to stand out on 

their bodies. 

93 



AN EXTRAORDINARY WELCOME 

Amazed at this uncomplimentary outburst of sor- 
row on our first meeting with the feminine section of 
whatever tribe it was we were approaching, we tried, 
with consoling phrases and reassuring gestures, to per- 
suade the boatmen to again take to their work in the 
canoes, if only to carry us out of earshot of this 
pandemonium. We might as well not have been there 
for all the attention they paid to our entreaties, and 
the grief, instead of wearing itself out, only seemed to 
gain in vigour as the minutes passed by. Suddenly 
the demonstration ceased- Without a word of excuse 
or of explanation, without even troubling to wipe the 
tears from their cheeks, they seized their poles and 
started the canoes afresh, with a demeanour as peaceful 
and unconcerned as if what they had just been doing 
was the most natural and ordinary thing possible. The 
women washed themselves, removed the leaves, and 
replaced the bark cloth, and, once again rational beings, 
entered two huts, the first habitations we had seen since 
leaving WakatimL It was a great relief to find that 
the women were to accompany us no farther, for one 
dose of the astonishing form of welcome which we had 
just witnessed was quite enough for the day, and as 
long as they were with us there was no knowing when 
the spirit might move them to repeat the experiment. 1 

1 The shedding of tears in welcome has been reported among the natives 
of America, as also with the Andamanese and other negroid races. 



CHAPTER VII 

Parimau Single combat Treatment of wives Towards the hills Forest 
growth WoodcraftThe Kapare Preparing for an attack Nego- 
tiating Panic Wild scenery Difficulties with coolies Friendly 
villages Difficult canoeing Eain Short rations 

ON the seventh day after leaving Wakatimi we 
reached Parimau, a collection of some twenty-five 
huts, and the most important place on the upper 
reaches of the Mimika River. The village was 
situated in a clearing of about an acre in extent, and, 
as we thought at the time, on a spot safe from all pos- 
sible chance of inundation. I say " was situated/' for 
unfortunately both land and village were swept out of 
existence by floods later on in the year. On the beach 
our camp was pitched and a house erected. This was 
only a temporary measure, for, as soon as a clearing 
had been made on the opposite or right bank of the 
river, other and more substantial huts were run up by 
the Gurkhas well above both the native village and 
the ordinary level of the river. 

Whilst we remained here fresh parties of natives 
arrived daily from the east to inspect the new- 
comers. The women, very shy and diffident, were led 
round by the hand by their Parimau friends, who from the 
moment of our arrival had come to look upon us as their 
own personal property. The new-comers brought their 
own food along with them, as well as presents for their 
hosts, so at first were received with open arms. There 
was much kissing amongst the men, but little notice 

95 



SINGLE COMBAT 

taken of the women, who seemed quite content to 
stand aside until their lords and masters deigned to 
notice them. 

No empty huts being available, this influx led to 
much overcrowding, with the result that brawls and 
fights were continually breaking out, and blood was 
freely shed on many occasions. The popular weapon 
was the stone club, made out of coral, limestone, or 
sandstone rock, and with this dangerous instrument the 
most violent blows were given and received, though 
every care was taken to avoid striking the head. When 
a single combat was in progress a certain amount of 
etiquette was shown, each combatant in turn striking 
his or her opponent a resounding blow across the back ; 
no flinching was allowed, and the fight continued till one 
or the other had had enough. During the fight an 
appalling din prevailed, both combatants and spectators 
venting their feelings in howls of rage and yells of 
abuse. The more peaceably inclined would sometimes 
terminate these fights by surrounding the actors so 
closely as to put an end to further hostilities. Now 
and again a woman (never a man) would be felled to 
the ground when a bad shot was made and the head 
struck by accident, but when such an event occurred 
no one considered it his or her business to proffer aid, 
and there the unfortunate woman would remain insen- 
sible and streaming with blood until she had recovered 
sufficiently to crawl to her hut. 

Both up- and down-river natives treat their wives 
with the greatest brutality. This consistent ill-treat- 
ment seemed to us all the more extraordinary, for, 
apart from any question of affection, one would have 
thought that it was the husband's interest to protect 
and care for his breadwinner in short, his slave, on 

96 



TREATMENT OF WIVES 

whom he was dependent for every comfort. Such was 
not the case. For instance, from the camp at Waka- 
timi, Wollaston on one occasion witnessed the attempted 
drowning of a woman who had in some way incurred 
the anger of her husband. In full view of all who 
cared to look, the young wife was dragged by the 
husband and his elder wife to the water's edge and 
there thrown in. Despite her struggles, a small fishing- 
net, bound to a circle of bamboo, was flung over her, 
and upon the ends of this the two seated themselves, 
effectively keeping the girl under water. She would 
certainly have been drowned had not Wollaston 
shouted across, and, seizing his rifle, threatened to 
shoot, upon which the two executioners unwillingly 
released their victim. The wretched creature dragged 
herself on to the bank, and there remained in & state 
of collapse until she had sufficiently recovered to crawl 
back to her happy home. Whilst this drama was 
being enacted none of the savages paid the slightest 
attention or raised a finger to prevent the attempted 
murder, though it was being carried out in full view 
of the whole village. 

During the intervals when the natives of Parimau 
and their guests were not engaged in brawling, we did 
our best to make them understand that we were anxious 
to enter the hills, of which, up to the present, we had 
gained no information. As soon as they had grasped 
what was required, numerous volunteers stepped forward 
ready to show the way and carry the baggage. 

Accompanied by two Gurkhas and a dozen Papuans, 
I set forth on the 26th January, following the one and 
only way said to exist. The track was in an abominable 
condition, so badly defined and so obstructed with 
cacti that the greater part of the day was spent in 

97 <* 



FOREST GROWTH 

cutting a way through the four miles of forest that lay 
between us and the first large river encountered. 

It is quite impossible for anyone who has not visited 
these parts of New Guinea to realise the density of the 
forest growth. The vegetation, through which only 
the scantiest glimpses of the sky can be obtained, 
appears to form as it were two great horizontal strata. 
The first comprises the giant trees whose topmost 
boughs are one hundred and fifty feet or more above 
the ground ; the other, the bushes, shrubs, and trees of 
lesser growth, which never attain a greater height than 
thirty to forty feet. Such is the richness of the soil 
that not one square foot remains untenanted, and the 
never-ending struggle to reach upwards towards the 
longed-for light goes on silently and relentlessly. 
Creepers and parasites in endless variety cling to every 
stem, slowly but surely throttling their hosts. From 
tree to tree their tentacles stretch out, seizing on to 
the first projecting branch and limb, and forming 
such a close and tangled mass that the dead and dying 
giants of the forest are prevented from falling to the 
ground. 

Through this boundless labyrinth of tangled growth 
the native is obliged to force his way when once he has 
left the safe and familiar river banks. The experience 
of countless centuries has taught him to dread the 
treacherous paths and deceptive openings into which 
many of his ancestors must have strayed and perished ; 
and now, when in the forest, he never omits to form a 
trail by half breaking the young shoots on either hand 
as he goes along. The stems thus treated do not die, 
and in their reversed position faintly mark the way for 
many years. This is a practice which the white men 
should invariably adopt when moving in a tropical 

98 



THE KAPAR& 

forest without knife or kukrie, for he can never tell 
when his life may depend upon the distinctness of the 
trail he leaves behind him. The various devices recom- 
mended in the books of one's childhood, and it may be 
added in learned books as well, whereby the traveller is 
enabled to recover a lost trail or regain the right direc- 
tion, are here of no avail. For instance, moss does not 
grow more on one side of a tree-trunk than on the 
other; trees do not lean away from the prevailing 
wind, nor is the position of the sun a guide, for it is 
seldom visible. In fact the traveller has nothing to 
rely upon but the compass or a local guide, and even 
the latter is often at fault. Hopeless indeed does the 
outlook appear when the wanderer, hedged in by a 
wall of scrub and creeper which limits his vision to a 
distance of ten or twelve yards, realises that he has 
lost his bearings; when the vastness of the forest seems 
to press upon him, and there is no sound to be heard 
but the drip, drip of the water-laden trees, and the 
bubbling of the stinking bog under foot. His only 
chance of escape is to find a stream and follow it down 
till it joins a main river. 

But to return from these cheerful considerations to 
our journey from Parimau. It was late in the after- 
noon when we debouched upon the stony bed of a 
great river, known to our guides as the Ka.pa.i6. From 
this point a grand view of the mountains was obtained, 
stretching from a point due north of us till they faded 
away in the dull haze to the west. The natives 
insisted upon camping at once, for fishing grounds, 
and consequently food, were close at hand. A 
sufficient supply of fish having been obtained, we 
turned in early to sleep. Nothing could have been 
more peaceful than the quiet, closely-packed camp, the 

99 



PREPARING FOR AN ATTACK 

two tents and the two flimsy shelters of the Papuans 
forming a small square. 

It must have been nearly an hour after we had turned 
into our blankets that I was suddenly awakened by the 
sound of men running, and springing up was just in 
time to catch a fleeting glimpse of the natives tumbling 
out of their huts and bolting into the forest. A Gurkha, 
who had awakened at the same time, instinctively 
rushed at and attempted to seize the last two, but 
the slippery body of a naked Papuan is not an easy 
thing to hold, and with a fierce wrench of the arm they 
broke loose and vanished like the rest. Not a man 
remained. 

Our first thought was for our own safety. 

If the natives contemplated an attack we were in a 
bad position to meet it, and too close to the jungle, so 
picking up the guns and blankets, and leaving every- 
thing else as it was, we moved without loss of time out 
into the open river bed, and there awaited the upshot 
of this peculiar affair. The forest was as silent as the 
grave. 

For an hour we remained on the qui vive and ready 
for any emergency, turning over in our minds every 
incident of the afternoon, to find some reason for this 
desertion, but in vain. Whither had they vanished? 
Were they stalking us, or were they still fleeing ? 

Still not a sound broke the silence of the forest. 

The night became chilly and the stones uncomfort- 
ably hard, so eventually it was decided that one man 
should keep a look-out while the remainder slept. An 
uncomfortable hour went slowly by, for neither the posi- 
tion nor the occasion were conducive to sound slumber. 
Fatigue at length obtained the mastery, and I passed 
into the land of dreams ; but hardly had I dosed off 

100 



NEGOTIATING 

than a light touch on the shoulder by the sentry drew 
my attention to numerous dark spots barely distinguish- 
able in the reeds along the river banks, spots which 
certainly had not been there an hour before. 

Straining our eyes to the utmost it was impossible 
for several minutes to make out what they were, but 
when one vanished, it was very easy to guess that each 
of the other black spots carried two eyes, and that our 
savage friends were spying out the land. 

A forward movement on our part now seemed to 
be called for, so standing up I gave a loud hail. The 
result was the instantaneous disappearance of all the 
spots. So far so good ; it had had some effect, and as 
the result of further calls, in five minutes' time a spot 
again appeared, to be followed shortly afterwards by a 
larger patch denoting the rising of a body. Then came 
an answering hail, and in such an encouraging tone 
that I felt constrained to approach. The figure did 
likewise, and so we advanced, first one then the other, 
both sides meanwhile keeping up a flow of talk in our 
respective languages. As we drew near I recognised 
the approaching figure to be that of a man who had on 
one or two occasions gone out shooting with me, and 
whom, in my present state of mind, I promptly started 
to abuse. He was quite ready to discuss matters, but 
as neither of us understood the other, and as each 
seemed to have some grievance, the only sensible 
course to follow was to forget the past and again be 
friends. Quickly both sides collected on the debating- 
ground and tried to relieve their feelings in a babel of 
talk, the Papuans ending up with the first few bars of 
the terrible wailing with which we had been assailed 
when coming up the Mimika. This, so close at hand, 
and in the dead of night, was unbearable, and had to 

101 



PANIC 

be stopped, much to their disappointment. Everything 
having been satisfactorily arranged, we moved back to 
the deserted camp and there passed the remainder of 
the night in peace and quiet, the natives in their huts 
and we in our tents. 

As time went on and we got to know the Papuans 
better, it was realised that these sudden desertions, 
which sometimes amount to a panic-stricken rush, are 
more probably due to fear of some kind than to hostile 
motives, or any desire to place the stranger in an 
awkward position. Desertions occurred on several 
other occasions, but this was the only time that any 
anxiety was felt as to the possibility of an attack being 
made. To this day I have not been able to find out 
what was in their minds or what caused the sudden 
flight to the jungle. Had it taken place in the day- 
time, or had they gone off in a stealthy manner, it 
might have been explained, but to do so in the dead 
of night, when the camp is peacefully asleep, can only 
be accounted for by a sudden grip of superstitious 
fear. 

Though little affected by the occurrences of the 
past night, the Papuans refused to continue the march 
upstream, the next day being spent in reconnoitring 
the country to the north. 

Fifteen miles distant lay a saddle-backed mountain 
about 7500 feet high, with almost precipitous sides and 
knife-edged ridges running in all directions, the whole 
covered with the densest vegetation. To the west 
stretched other wild and rugged hills, divided from the 
first mountain by the gorge of the Kapare. Far up 
the valley glimpses were obtained of an immense preci- 
pice running east and west, a sheer perpendicular wall 
of rock, bare of vegetation and black in colour. 

102 



DIFFICULTIES WITH COOLIES 

As no more information was to be obtained by 
waiting here under these conditions, I returned to 
Parimau and reported to Goodfellow what had been 
found, and discussed with him the chances of finding 
a way into the hills by this route. As a result it was 
decided to send a reconnoitring party from Wakatimi 
up the Kapare, the mouth of which had been passed 
on our way from the sea, with the object of discovering 
whether that river was navigable for canoes up to the 
point where I had come out on its banks, and whether 
it offered many advantages over the Mimika as a 
permanent line of advance inland. 

Goodfellow accordingly returned to Wakatimi on 
9th February in order to despatch this party and to 
explain to those at the base camp how matters stood, 
while I again crossed to the Kapar to prepare a path 
towards the mountains and to await the arrival of the 
exploring party, should they be able to work a way up 
the new river. Unfortunately, on reaching Wakatimi, 
he learnt that the whole of the imported coolies, whom 
he had engaged for a period of six weeks only, had, on 
the arrival of a visiting ship, insisted upon the fulfil- 
ment of the letter of the law, and demanded to be 
returned at once to their homes. The few remaining 
carriers who, owing to their having been detained up 
the river, found themselves too late to depart by the 
steamer, were now the only men left to carry on the 
work. By the next relief ship Goodfellow sailed for 
Amboina, in order to recruit a fresh batch of men from 
the nearer islands of the Archipelago, and with him 
went the remainer of the men, not one of whom could 
be induced by any amount of bribes to stay a day over 
the contract time. 

Whilst Goodfellow was away on this business, 

103 



FRIENDLY VILLAGERS 

Marshall, Wollaston, and Cramer, with a scratch crew 
of soldiers, convicts, and Papuans, started out on their 
exploration of the Kapare. Within two miles of the 
junction with the Mimika the vegetation changed from 
the dense jungle of mangrove trees to flourishing sago 
swamps and banana plantations. The first night was 
spent at Obota, a large village of not less than three 
hundred inhabitants, who were quite friendly and well- 
disposed to the strangers. Like the villagers previously 
encountered, they were bent upon trade, and delighted 
to find that they had here a good market for their 
tobacco and bananas, which grew abundantly in the 
locality. In one of the houses, amongst other treasures, 
an old brass gong was displayed, and a most incongruous 
object it appeared, being the one product of civilisation 
which had as yet arrived at this uncivilised spot. 

The Obota was then in flood, and so ignorant were 
the soldiers of river work that all attempts to make 
further progress against the strong current failed 
ignominiously, the canoes careering madly from bank 
to bank, and finally coming to rest in a backwater at a 
point considerably lower down-stream than where they 
started. The natives, fearing that a disaster might 
occur, which would have been greatly to their dis- 
advantage, quickly came to the rescue, and after a 
good deal of discussion consented to accompany the 
party if two other canoes were engaged and the loads 
in the original ones reduced. These men proved them- 
selves excellent workers, and remained throughout the 
journey, becoming great friends with our men. Having 
circumvented the rapids just above Obota, by following 
a winding jungle creek which joined the main river 
again three hundred yards farther up, it was found neces- 
sary to hug the banks closely in order to avoid the main 

104 



RAIN 

force of the current. Two miles beyond this point the 
Kapare began to widen, forming a perfect river for 
navigation, and admirably suited for a launch. The 
river here bifurcated, the larger branch being known 
at its mouth as the Periepia. As further progress was 
made the Kapar, flowing between low and swampy 
banks infested with mosquitoes, continued to widen 
until it was the general opinion that no difficulty 
would be experienced in penetrating direct into the 
mountains. On the sixth day out, however, these hopes 
were shattered, any further advance upstream being 
absolutely barred by a combination of shoals and rapids. 
They were then only five miles from the point where I 
was awaiting them, but there was nothing for it but to 
abandon this line of advance and to return dejected to 
Wakatimi. 

During the time this journey was in progress 
I, together with three Gurkhas, had moved another 
three miles up the Kapare, a fishing party of natives 
having been pressed into the work of carrying the 
loads, though not accomplished without much bribery 
and endless coaxing. Beyond this point they refused 
to move another step, so a rough but substantial 
hut was built ready to take any stores which might 
arrive in the near future, four miles of road cleared, and 
a certain amount of survey work completed. This was 
much hindered by the daily downfall of rain, which not 
only flooded the camping ground but rendered the 
river and brooks unfordable for hours at a time. 

By converting the empty map tin into a rain guage 
I was enabled to calculate fairly accurately the average 
rainfall for twenty-four hours. The heaviest registered 
was 4| inches, the lightest 1^ inches, and the average 
for two weeks showed 2^ inches per day; this, be it 

105 



SHORT RATIONS 

remembered, was one of the dry seasons of the year ! 
Day after day we pegged away at the work, always 
hoping that the next morning we should hear the wel- 
come sound of the approach either of the party moving 
up the Kapar, or of another relief expedition from 
Parimau, until at length the stores came to an end, 
A man despatched to Parimau, where Shortridge was 
still encamped, returned with the information that 
no boat or supplies had arrived from Wakatimi, and 
that Shortridge himself was in an equally serious 
plight from want of food. Following close behind 
came Shortridge himself carrying his last three days' 
rations, and which we eked out as long as possible, 
as it is more economical to feed two men together 
than when separated. 

As there was nothing to gain by returning to 
Parimau, even had we wished to do so, in its present 
depleted condition, and as no carriers were available, 
we were forced to subsist entirely upon what the forest 
could provide, and taking it all together a poorer 
country I have never yet found. Of edible vegetable 
matter there was none, and of flesh we could obtain 
nothing but the hornbill. These birds consist of head 
and neck, and the smallest and toughest of bodies 
imaginable, but we blessed their existence all the same. 
Crown pigeons, which would have provided a good 
square meal, must have known that we were on the 
warpath, for only a couple were to be seen, and these 
would certainly have been bagged had not the excite- 
ment of the stalk and the knowledge that our supper 
depended upon a successful shot caused the premature 
discharge of the gun. Nevertheless, though food was 
scarce and life not altogether a bed of roses, there was 
plenty of hard work, which made time pass quickly 

106 



SHORT RATIONS 

and enabled us to forget the material privations of our 
situation. During this hungry period another hunting 
party of Papuans arrived upon the scene, and every 
blandishment was employed to persuade them to assist 
in moving the camp to fresh pastures where animal 
life was more plentiful. It was during one of these 
attempts at an advance that a most valuable discovery 
was made. 



107 



CHAPTER VIII 

Unpleasant work Chasing pygmies Captured pygmies Pygmy equip- 
mentPrimitive methods Pygmy history Penetrating the mountains 
Stalking human game Brave pygmies Land of the pygmies- 
Attempts to penetrate the country The home of the pygmies Fresh 
line of advance 

IN spite of all our efforts nothing would induce the 
Papuans to transport the camp a few miles further 
up-stream, and matters reached such an impasse that I 
was finally forced to adopt the r61e of carrier myself, 
hoping by this means that they might be shamed into 
shouldering the loads. It was not an edifying sight, 
the white man carrying the burden and the savages 
following in a sullen line behind, and the physical 
effort of bearing a heavy load through the steaming 
jungle made the experiment a distinctly unpleasant 
one ; it had the effect, however, of bringing the whole 
party along, for they were consumed with curiosity as 
to where I would go and what I would do. 

In this uncomfortable manner we were slowly 
making our way up the river bed when, with a guttural 
cry of " Wah," the savage immediately following me 
dashed past at full speed, The yell acted like magic. 
The sulky line was in a moment galvanised into life, 
and the men who had been so tired that it seemed to 
be an effort to place one foot before the other, taking 
up the cry, raced off in pursuit over the stones and 
into the jungle. As this new move at any rate 
promised excitement and the pleasures of the chase, I 

108 



CHASING PYGMIES 

dropped my load, and with visions of pork before my 
eyes girded up my loins and pounded along in rear* 
Partly influenced by the fact that the savages were 
rapidly leaving me behind, I cast around in an attempt 
to find the animal's spoor before entering the jungle. 
What was my surprise to discover men's footprints 
instead of the marks of pig as I had expected, and to 
see the sand torn up where they had evidently turned 
and bolted for cover. This being a form of sport in 
which I did not desire to take part, I sat down to 
await events and to listen to the sounds of the chase as 
it passed away into the forest. 

Who could the enemy be, and why this sudden 
show of hostility? Could it be some men of a tribe 
with whom our friendly natives had been at war, or 
possibly some delinquent or runaway of their own 
people ? I was not to be left long in doubt. Before 
many minutes had passed the excited voices of the men 
could be heard as they drew near, and then from the 
forest there emerged a confused mass of savages, in the 
centre of which, held firmly by the arms and driven 
forward by sundry proddings behind, were two small 
naked men differing in appearance from any we had 
hitherto seen. They were taking their capture in any- 
thing but a kindly spirit, and despite the fact that they 
were outnumbered by five to one, put up sufficient 
fight to engage the united attentions of their big framed 
brethren. 

When the party reached the place where I stood 
the captives were released, but as they had by then 
arrived at the stage when fear and exhaustion renders 
vigorous action an impossibility, they could do no 
more than maintain their position on the tree-trunk 
upon which they were placed and with their eyes glued 

109 



PYGMY EQUIPMENT 

to the ground. From their point of view there was 
good reason to fear the worst. Were they not in the 
hands of their enemies, and in the presence of a man of 
another pale-faced race of whose existence they had up 
to now been in complete ignorance? In addition to 
this, had they not been deprived of their bows and 
arrows, their grass helmets and their bags of precious 
odds and ends, all of which were now being handed 
round before their eyes and distributed piece by piece ? 
As a preliminary to any friendly advances I insisted 
first of all upon the stolen articles, even down to the 
bows and arrows, being collected and returned to their 
rightful owners, much to the disgust of the captors, who 
evidently looked upon the loot as their just reward. 
Reassured by this unexpected treatment the prisoners 
quickly gained their wits, and went so far as to allow a 
faint smile to spread across their features when a few 
bright-coloured beads were placed in their grimy paws. 
The capture was of such absorbing interest that we 
decided to postpone any further advance till the next 
day, and returning to the old camp were enabled to 
examine our prisoners more closely. 

They were of good proportions, strong and wiry, 
without any signs of deformity or dwarfishness, and in 
colour a dark chocolate. When walking with the 
finely-developed men of the Parimau tribe, their small 
size was very noticeable, the former averaging about 
five feet six to seven inches, whilst the new-comers, as 
we were to find in camp, barely reached four feet seven 
inches in height. They proved to be members of a 
.mountain tribe known by the name of Tapiro, living 
on the lower slopes of the mountains where, we were 
informed, their villages and plantations lay. Hearing 
of our arrival, or perhaps having seen our tents from 

110 



PRIMITIVE METHODS 

above, they had come to spy out the land and had been 
captured in the attempt To make matters worse, they 
had been caught trespassing in a district into which 
they were not permitted to enter. Their dress con- 
sisted of a grass helmet with upright rims, and a pro- 
jection at the crown into which a bird of paradise 
plume could be inserted. Over one shoulder was 
suspended a string bag containing a collection of fishing- 
tackle and fire-sticks; these, together with a hollow 
bright yellow gourd some fifteen inches long, worn as 
pubic clothing with the narrow and closed end point- 
ing upwards, and held in position by a string fastened 
round the waist, formed their complete outfit. 

If we were to penetrate into the hills by the route 
we were following, it was most necessary to be on the 
best terms with this tribe. In order, therefore, that 
they might carry a good report to their village as to 
how they had been treated, the prisoners were given 
a few more odds and ends and tolid that they were free 
to depart. The older man of the two left hurriedly, 
and in a few moments was swallowed up by the jungle, 
but the younger stayed on and remained with us for a 
couple of days this apparently by order of the plains- 
men, for he worked and carried wood for them during 
his stay. Then he likewise vanished, and for some 
months was seen no more. 

In the latter stages of the expedition, when we got 
to know him better, this man proved to be the most 
intelligent member of his tribe, and acted as our 
regular go-between during the visits we subsequently 
made to the mountain home of the Tapiros. 

That evening he showed us how to make fire. Two 
implements were required a stick of hard wood and a 
length of split rattan. A cleft was made in the stick, 

111 



PYGMY HISTORY 

into which a stone was forced so as to keep the sides 
apart. Then, having placed one end of the stick 
beneath his foot and the other over a bunch of dried 
leaves, he passed the rattan rope beneath the cleft 
stick, and grasping it with his hands, worked it rapidly 
backwards and forwards till the friction, engendered by 
the rattan against the sharp edge of the stick, produced 
ignition. The smouldering leaves were then blown 
into a flame. Interested by this somewhat deliberate 
process of making fire, I thought he would be delighted 
with the simplicity of the common match. The effect , 
was disappointing as, after one gasp of surprise and a 
grunt of disapproval, he not only refused to accept the 
box as a present, but walked hurriedly away when the 
experiment was about to be repeated. 

Owing to our very slight knowledge of the language 
of the plainsmen at that time it was exceedingly diffi- 
cult to obtain any information as to the numbers and 
habits of these small men of the Tapiro tribe. I per- 
force had to speak in English and in the language of 
signs. The plainsmen tried to interpret, but every 
time that I failed to grasp the meaning they resorted 
to the usual native expedient of shouting the same 
words in a louder tone ; and as the whole party talked 
at the same time, the cross-examination, though inte- 
resting, was not conducive to obtaining the information 
required. 

I was soon to obtain a further insight into the life 
history of these small men, fully confirming my view 
that a hitherto unknown race of pygmies had been dis- 
covered men who for countless ages had lived and 
died in the midst of the densest forest and in the fast- 
nesses of the mountains. My impression at the time 
was that they were probably the descendants of scat- 

112 




PYGMIES MAKING FIRE 

i. By friction causing the wood to smoulder. 

2 and 3. Blowing the smouldering embers into a flame 



PYGMY HISTORY 

tered families of the indigenous tribes driven into those 
inhospitable regions many centuries ago by more power- 
ful or invading races who had settled on the coast. 
Time and hardship had left their mark on the weaker 
race. Generation had succeeded generation subsisting 
on the scanty supplies of food which were only to be 
obtained by never-ending labour, with the result that 
physically they had much diminished in size, though 
still remaining wiry and agile. The chase was the very 
essence of their being, and with it they had acquired 
the stealthy movement and ever watchful glances of 
the hunter* The fact that they seldom see the sun 
owing to their homes being in the dense hillside forest, 
and to there being no broad rivers in the country, on 
the banks of which they can bask and absorb the solar 
warmth, may account for the fact that they are slightly 
fairer in colour than the plainsmen. It was thus that 
I accounted for the existence of this hitherto unknown 
race of diminutive men, but although these assumptions 
may appear reasonable enough to the lay mind, they 
are not generally accepted by scientists, and I must 
leave it to those more versed in anthropology than 
myself to account for their origin and peculiar physical 
characteristics. 1 

On the day after our meeting with the Tapiros the 
Papuans abandoned their stubborn mood and consented 
to transport the camp to a spot three miles up-stream ; 
from this point a few more miles of the river were ex- 
plored. It was on the third day that the first determined 
attempt was made to penetrate into the mountains. 

Long before there was any sign of light in the east 
we were astir and ready to set out, but, early as it was, 
our movements did not escape the ever-watchful eyes 

1 See Chapter XIX. 

113 H 



PENETRATING THE MOUNTAINS 

of the natives camping close at hand. They were soon 
clustering round, wanting to know where we were bound 
for and what we were going to seek, and when they 
understood that we intended to enter the hills, expressed 
their intention of joining the party. To this we agreed, 
and a start was made. As the water was low a good 
rate of speed was maintained along the river bed, until 
we were obliged to enter the forest by a path lying 
some hundred yards back from the Kapar, and entirely 
invisible to any eyes but those of a native. After fol- 
lowing the track for about a mile we again struck the 
river bank. In this region of the foothills the waters 
of the Kapare were now tumbling along in surging 
masses of foam. 

It was at this point that I happened casually to 
glance down- stream, and noticed the figures of two 
men nearly one hundred and fifty yards away under the 
opposite bank, with their backs towards us. Very 
naturally I pointed them out to the rest of the party. 
Instinctively the men with me halted and sank to 
earth, and, in a moment, had concocted their plan of 
action ; the execution was one of the sharpest bits of 
patrol work I have ever witnessed. In less time than 
it takes to tell, six of them vanished like ghosts along 
the path by which we had just come, whilst the 
remainder slipped noiselessly into the water, and, 
spreading out, swam down stream at racing speed over 
the tumbling rapids. Fast as they approached their 
quarry, they were no faster than those who were 
moving through the forest, and, little as I desired 
forcible methods of capture, it was impossible not to 
admire the sight of savage stalking savage. Thirty 
yards now divided the hunters from their quarry ; the 
roar of the waters drowned every sound. Suddenly 

114 



BRAVE PYGMIES 

the jungle party broke out of the forest and dashed 
headlong into the river. The pursued, now for the 
first time aware of their danger, made a wild rush for 
the opposite bank, but it was too late. The river party 
was upon them in a moment. So complete was the 
surprise that an appeal to bows and arrows was out of 
the question, but in spite of this they put up with their 
fists one of the prettiest fights imaginable. Standing 
breast high in the torrent, they struggled manfully to 
escape, and, despite the fact that they were out- 
numbered by six to one, held their own for a consider- 
able time. As they were being badly buffeted, I 
hurried to a point on the bank opposite and, holding 
up both hands, shouted and beckoned for them to come 
to me. These peaceful overtures had no effect, and 
they continued their struggles; fight as they would, 
however, weight told at last, and they were dragged 
before me breathless from their exertions, and in a state 
of complete nudity, their gourds having been pulled 
off, their bags removed, and their bows and arrows 
wrenched away. 

They were both bearded, and in age might have 
been anything between twenty and twenty-five, as 
well-proportioned and as muscular as those who had 
been captured a few days previously. Despite their 
protests, I measured them then and there as well as 
was possible, and found them to be four feet five inches 
and four feet six inches respectively. Like the others, 
they were too frightened to speak or make any other 
sound than a quick indrawing of the breath a kind of 
hiss, this being their only reply to the numerous ques- 
tions hurled at them by the captors. Their belongings 
were dealt with in the same way as in the case of the 
earlier prisoners, everything being collected and 

115 



LAND OF THE PYGMIES 

returned to them. They were then offered the "pipe 
of peace " in the form of a cigarette, but though they 
sat down and smoked their own tobacco they were far 
too suspicious to have anything to do with mine. A 
few blue beads, however, worked wonders, their eyes 
literally glistening at the sight. The discussion which 
followed was to me uninteresting, as only one of the 
little men could make himself understood to the plains- 
men, and I, for my part, could understand neither one 
side nor the other. Precious time was being wasted 
over this conversation, so they were told to rejoin the 
party and come with us to the mountains. 

A mile farther on we struck a beautiful crystal 
stream running from the east, which, as we afterwards 
learnt, formed the boundary line between the land of 
the pygmies and that of the plainsmen. Beyond this 
point the men refused to go, or even to show us the 
path, and the two Gurkhas and I were compelled to 
proceed alone. Following some marks on the rocks, 
before long we struck a small jungle path, so narrow 
and heavily overgrown that though, perhaps, suitable 
for a pygmy, it was a matter of difficulty for the ordi- 
nary-sized man, such as a large-limbed plainsman, to 
pass along with any speed. For an hour and a half we 
moved steadily forward, the path all the while rising 
rapidly, until, at last, we entered such a labyrinth of 
ravines and nullahs that further progress became im- 
possible. A deathlike stillness reigned everywhere 
not even a bird or a reptile was to be seen. Few hours 
of daylight remained, and as the trail had entirely dis- 
appeared, and we had no knowledge of the position or 
of what lay ahead, the quest was abandoned, and we 
retraced our steps. At the crystal stream all was silent 
and deserted the men, big and little, had vanished, 

116 




PYGMIES OF THE TAPIRO TRIBE 

1. Wearing the split mandible of the hornbill to produce a fierce expression. 

2. One of the oldest men of the tribe and a grea obstructionist. 

3. The keenest trader. Bone ornaments through the septum of the nose. 

4. One of the crowd. 



PENETRATING THE COUNTRY 

tired, 1 suppose, of awaiting our return. And so 
ended our first attempt to track the pygmies to their 
village. 

On the journey back to camp a further discovery 
was made, for, whilst examining with my glasses the 
ground over which we had advanced, I was able to see 
distinctly the edge of a forest clearing far up the moun- 
tain side. It had the appearance of being cultivated, 
and was, therefore, likely to be in the near vicinity of 
the pygmies' mountain home, and the source from 
whence they obtained their daily sustenance. This 
further discovery made us all the more determined to 
penetrate into the mountainous country, and to examine 
in greater detail the weird and interesting race which 
had been so unexpectedly brought to light. 

Two days later another attempt to reach the clear- 
ing led to no better results. After hours of clambering 
over rough ground and through dense* undergrowth, 
our spirits every now and again buoyed up by a faint 
trail of a moss-covered rock which had apparently been 
worn by the foot of man, we again arrived in a trackless 
labyrinth of deep ravines. The quest seemed hopeless, 
and we returned dispirited to camp. Wollaston, how- 
ever, now arrived on the scene, bringing fresh stores, 
and together we thought out new schemes for an 
advance. 

A third attack was made on what I had almost 
begun to believe was the mythical home of the pygmies, 
and this too ended in failure. Had it not been for 
distinct signs of felled trees upon the clearing we 
should have been tempted to give up the quest as 
hopeless. We determined, however, not to be beaten, 
and at last perseverance was rewarded. 

The next day a fresh start was made, but after 

117 



THE HOME OF THE PYGMIES 

climbing for six hours without a break, the last part 
of the way being along a faintly-marked trail, a con- 
sultation was held and it was decided to return to 
camp. We had followed similar trails on other occa- 
sions without any result, and had now lost confidence 
in them. However, a Gurkha, Pulman by name, 
was most adverse to going back, declaring confidently 
that within an hour we were bound to find the 
long-sought -for goal. His persuasive appeals deter- 
mined us to persevere, for we all felt that another 
day's tramp was no more likely to bring us nearer 
our quest than we were at that present moment. 
Scarcely had another furlong been covered when, to 
our surprise and delight, the forest grew thinner, 
and we found ourselves on the edge of the clearing 
which we had so long desired to reach; and there, 
peering at us from underneath a leafy shelter, was 
one of the same men whom we had captured a week 
before. 

He might have been a statue for all the welcome 
he vouchsafed us, but that there was life in his body 
was evident by the penetrating yodelling which burst 
from his lungs doubtless a signal to bring the other 
tribesmen to his assistance. Hurrying forward, we 
were able to take up a good position on the cultivated 
ground before reinforcements began to arrive. Up 
they came, one after another, till eight little men were 
collected in a bunch, all much excited and panting 
from their hurried advance. They apparently were of 
opinion that still more help was required, or it may 
have been to warn their female relatives, but each 
as he arrived joined in the warning cry. No other 
pygmies put in an appearance, so, though rather dis- 
appointed at not seeing a greater number of them, we 

118 



THE HOME OF THE PYGMIES 

had to be content with examining the few who were 
present. 

They were truculent, unsociable souls, retreating 
on any attempt to draw near, and holding their bows 
and arrows ready for instant use. Though varying 
somewhat in size and build, on account of the simi- 
larity of their get-up they bore an extraordinary resem- 
blance to one another. As we were afterwards to visit 
their habitations when many were collected together, 
I will defer a description of their peculiar costume 
till then. Conversation was at a discount, for at this 
date our stock of the plainsmen's language was limited, 
and what few words we knew failed to convey any 
meaning to the minds of our hosts. We had recourse 
to the primitive plan of barter as a means of quieting 
their suspicions, and were so far successful that several 
arrows were exchanged for beads, an article of com- 
merce they were quite unable to resist. Even this 
restricted amount of trade was only carried through 
with the aid of our former captive and at arm's length 
a very unsatisfactory way of doing business. 

The clearing in which we stood could have been 
little less than 120 acres in extent, although at this 
first visit only a limited portion was visible from where 
we were. It was closely cultivated, with a mixed 
crop of taro and sweet potato, but much broken by 
fallen trees. No huts, with the exception of one leafy 
shelter, were to be seen, nor were there any signs of 
habitation or smoke to show where the remainder 
of the tribe had their dwelling-places, but that a 
numerous colony existed close by was evident from 
the extent of the cultivated land, which could pro- 
duce enough to feed one hundred or more people all 
the year round. Mighty tree-trunks lay scattered 

119 



THE HOME OF THE PYGMIES 

:>ver the slope, some few showing signs of having 
been felled by fire. In the majority of cases a close 
examination of the roots showed that some small 
instrument had been used in the felling. Inquiries 
proved such to be the case, and the identical weapon 
which had been employed was produced, namely an 
extremely small axe, the head three inches in length 
and 1J inches in width, made of the softest iron it 
was possibly a piece of old hoop-iron. We were not 
allowed to touch this precious article it was too 
highly prized. This was not to be wondered at when 
its probable history is considered, with what trouble 
it had been obtained, the great distance over which 
it had been brought (for it must have come from the 
coast), and the high price which doubtless had been 
paid for it. With this instrument, a few stone axes, 
and by the aid of fire, a great section of the 
densest forest has been cleared of timber, and when 
it is remembered that burning a tree down is an 
almost impossible operation in such a streaming wet 
country, it is evident that the work must have taken 
years to accomplish. 

Some plane-table work was carried out while the 
bartering was in progress, though in this we were 
continually inconvenienced by the exclamations and 
gestures of our inhospitable hosts, whose one desire 
was to see the last of us. It was evident that the 
path by which we had come was not the usual means 
of access to the plains, and we now endeavoured to 
persuade our small friends to disclose the right track, 
not only in order to save a repetition of the wearisome 
journey back to camp, but because we might wish to 
follow it at some future time. Though understanding 
quite well what was required, they flatly refused to 

120 



FRESH LINE OF ADVANCE 

point out the regular road, and despite the tempting 
offer of a piece of red cloth, not one of them would 
render any assistance whatever. 

Our efforts at persuasion having failed, we were at 
length obliged to retire by the same way as we had 
come, followed, so long as we remained in sight, by the 
scowls of the excited and jabbering pygmies. 

Though our curiosity as to the clearing was partly 
satisfied, the stubbornness and secrecy of the small 
men made us all the more determined to find out 
where their habitations were, how they lived, and what 
were their customs. 

For the present honours were evenly divided, and 
the claims of other work were of too pressing a nature 
to allow of a prolonged stay in this district. 

The Kapare having proved unsuitable as a line of 
advance to the snow-clad mountains, it was necessary 
to strike out in an entirely new direction. The store- 
house and the prepared road were abandoned. Wol- 
laston returned to Wakatimi, and Marshall came up to 
join me at Parimau ; consequently our efforts to study 
this interesting race more closely had to be postponed 
for several months to come. 



121 



CHAPTER IX 

Parimau A promising farmyard Native dogs Pet animals A casso- 
waryUp the Mimika Arduous travelling Oapsised The language 
"Oewera-mina" Birth^ marriage, death Disease Burial Medi- 
cine A brisk market in skulls Religion Courage of the natives- 
Useful electric torch 

T ITTLE more could be done in the way of explora- 
JU tion until the arrival of Goodfellow with the 
new batch of coolies. Our time, however, was fully 
occupied with the work of constructing the houses of 
both the Dutch and British sections, which was carried 
on energetically, until at length living and store rooms 
sufficient to shelter the whole force extended for 
a distance of two hundred yards along the right bank 
of the river, while a considerable area of the forest was 
cleared for hygienic reasons, and for the cultivation of 
Indian corn, papaya, bread-fruit and banana trees, 
beans, pumpkins, and other vegetables. Such was the 
richness of the soil that, now that the sun's rays were 
able to reach the ground, the imported plants flourished 
exceedingly the scarlet runners and pumpkins in 
particular spreading over every roof and railing. 

Paths were made, landing platforms and ladders 
erected, and an example, which they were not slow to 
follow, set to the villagers opposite as to how human 
habitations and their surroundings should be laid out 

Parimau on our first arrival had consisted of a 
straggling, irregular row of twenty-four huts, all of the 
roughest and most primitive description, situated on 

122 



A PROMISING FARMYARD 

the highest point of a shingly beach at a bend of the 
Mimika River. Three months later, so many addi- 
tions and alterations had been made that the place was 
hardly recognisable. A section of the forest to the 
north and east had been cleared, a new site selected 
farther away from the river, and the huts, now forty- 
five in number, erected afresh on an altogether superior 
plan. 

The style of architecture in one or two instances 
was a very good imitation of what had been adopted 
for our storehouses, which, owing to their having 
been built almost entirely by the Gurkhas, who were 
naturally influenced by the type of building they had 
been accustomed to live in, were again a copy of the 
usual habitations to be found in Nepal. A dancing- 
hall sufficient to hold one hundred performers had also 
been run up, from whence nightly sounds of revelry 
and the thud, thud of the drums told of much dancing 
and contented lives. Sad to relate, this attempt on 
the part of the natives to improve their lot was largely 
labour in vain, for before the end of the year both 
land and huts had vanished, swept away by the insa- 
tiable floods. 

On our side of the river a most promising farmyard 
was established, the chief inmates being three or four 
young cassowaries and pigs, which, though black when 
mature, are at this early age marked with horizontal 
brown and yellow stripes. These animals rapidly 
became tame, and within a day or two of being 
captured will follow one about like dogs ; one little 
pig in particular used to play the familiar puppy-dog 
game of racing round and round the table, squeal- 
ing hard when a grab was made to catch him, and 
when one got tired of playing thus, would seize and 

123 



NATIVE DOGS 

shake one's trousers to show that he for his part wished 
to continue the fun. The young cassowaries and pigs 
are easily caught by the natives, the mothers being run 
down and brought to bay by the dogs until the arrival 
of the hunters ; the old ones then break away and 
leave the young to be caught or escape as best they 
can. If possible, the squeakers are taken alive in order 
to be brought up and fed by the villagers, and eaten 
at some special festival. When young and ignorant 
of the unkind ways of the world, they have a bad time 
of it from the village dogs,, being chased hither and 
thither, until at length they realise by bitter experience 
that the hut is the only place of safety. 

The dogs are of the usual yellow mongrel type, 
about the size of an Irish terrier; thin, lank, and 
covered with mange. They are to be found all over 
New Guinea, and are much prized by their owners, 
for on their keenness and hunting instincts depends 
the regular supply of meat. Without their aid hunt- 
ing would be but an unprofitable labour, and the 
men might seek in vain for the flesh which they so 
much relish. Two or three times a week they are 
taken out and rarely fail to run down a pig, cassowary 
or wallaby, sometimes cornering as many as four or 
five of the latter in one day. Curiously enough they 
never bark, but amply make up for any inability to 
relieve their feelings in this respect by their mournful 
and prolonged howls. Started by one dog, the identical 
note is taken up by every animal within hearing dis- 
tance, and is continued until one wishes every creature 
dead and buried. Valuable though they may be to 
their owners, they are starved, cruelly treated and 
thrashed on the slightest provocation, but, in spite of 
the fact that they must have the same instincts as other 

124 




WAMBIRIMI VILLAGE 

The home of the Tapiro pygmies. 




PARIMAU CAMP 



PET ANIMALS 

dogs, however severe the rain of blows, they never 
move away at a faster rate than a walk. This is not 
from any false idea of dignity, for they yelp almost 
before the blow is struck, and keep it up for minutes 
afterwards. Not a single dog became friendly with any 
of our men, or would ever enter the camp except under 
cover of darkness, and this was certainly not owing to 
any ill-treatment they received, for whatever faults 
a Malay may have, cruelty to animals is not one of 
them. The number of birds and pets collected by our 
followers at Wakatimi showed this clearly enough ; 
after a time their lories and parrots became so tame 
that they were let loose to fly about in the jungle dur- 
ing the daytime, coming down and alighting on the 
shoulders of their masters when called at dusk. 

The only wild animal which entirely refused to 
respond to friendly overtures and efforts to tame it was 
the night-loving cuscus, a sluggish opossum-like crea- 
ture, with yellow cat-like eyes and a coat suitable for 
the arctic regions, ever ready to bite and prepared to 
use its claws on the slightest provocation. After weeks 
of careful and kind treatment, they remained as savage 
and unsociable as when first caught. 

As is usually the case, most of the pets came to 
untimely ends, and except for the birds none were ever 
destined to find a home in the Zoological Gardens of 
London. Indeed, an animal or bird which lives in 
constant danger of meeting its death from shot or 
snare seems almost to have a better chance of remain- 
ing alive than one which is cared for in every way that 
man can devise. Some animals seem to have charmed 
lives, and this was the case with a female cassowary, 
which for a whole year passed daily backwards and 
forwards within half a mile of Parimau Camp. Her 

125 



UP THE MIMIKA 

deep-noted call was heard morning and evening as 
she went her usual round heedless or disdainful of the 
many attempts made to end her existence. In July 
her continual drumming attracted a male bird from 
the forest on the other side of the Mimika. He 
emerged one morning from the undergrowth directly 
opposite the camp, and was seen to march across the 
beach and attempt to ford the swollen river. Absorbed 
in planning out a scheme to cross the torrent he passed 
close to the huts and in full view of the natives, but 
seemed to be too preoccupied to notice the excited 
throngs which were observing him from both banks; 
and it was not until half a dozen rifle shots had 
scattered the sand near him that he realised his un- 
comfortable situation and retired once more to the 
seclusion of the forest. Undeterred by this failure, he 
made another attempt on the following day, but this 
time with more unfortunate results to himself, for a 
lucky shot laid him low close to the water's edge. This 
bird proved to be a new variety, and would have been 
a valuable acquisition to the collection. Unluckily, 
some of the coolies reached the carcase first, and before 
they could be stopped had plucked out handfuls of the 
best feathers with which to make fly whisks ! 

It was during one of the many short journeys 
undertaken for the purpose of collecting mammals and 
birds, that a garrulous and unwary savage unintention- 
ally showed Shortridge a path which led eastwards, 
at the other end of which, so he said, a great river 
ran. Apparently these people did not wish us to know 
of the existence of this route, and in spite of the fact 
that natives often arrived from some place in that 
direction always professed ignorance when questioned 
about it. It was a fortunate discovery, as the entrance 

126 



ARDUOUS TRAVELLING 

was so well concealed that we should never have hit 
upon it ourselves, and owing to the Kapar route 
having proved useless, our great desire was to find a 
new way leading towards the great mountains in the 
east. With the exception of this valuable piece of 
information, Shortridge's journey yielded no zoological 
results, and indeed, proved an unfortunate one for 
those who took part in it. It may be interesting to 
relate briefly the adventures of the party on this occa- 
sion, as they give a good idea of the difficulties which 
were constantly being experienced as the result of 
distant storms and rainfall in the mountains. 

Accompanied by two Gurkhas, Shortridge set out 
soon after daylight for the purpose of working the 
forest close round the source of the Mimika, taking 
with him sufficient equipment to enable him to pro- 
long his stay should it be found necessary to do so. 
No Papuans were employed as carriers, as they had 
hitherto proved themselves entirely unreliable, but 
with the usual perverseness of the native, twelve of 
them followed the party on foot to a spot where, on 
account of the shallowness of the water no further 
progress in the canoe was possible, and where, in 
consequence, the tent was pitched. 

Leaving one Gurkha behind, Shortridge pushed on 
for another three miles, keeping to the river-bed so as 
to avoid the tedious work of cutting a way through 
the forest. While slowly progressing up-stream in this 
manner, he noticed that the river was appreciably rising, 
although as far as was known no rain had fallen any- 
where in the neighbourhood. An immediate retire- 
ment was decided upon, but so rapidly did the river 
deepen that after going back a few hundred yards 
they were forced to leave the bed and take to the 

127 



CAPSISED 

jungle. At the first creek, which half an hour before 
had contained no more than the merest trickle of water, 
they were only too glad to make use of a fallen tree 
in order to gain the further side. After a two hours' 
struggle through a sea of mud, perpetually felling trees 
to bridge the numerous swollen creeks encountered, 
and drenched to the skin by the rain which had now 
commenced to fall, they arrived at the place where the 
tent had been left. Here the country was found to be 
under water and the savages standing ankle-deep on 
the roots of the trees, whilst the tent itself and the 
baggage had been placed for safety on the branches 

oo o * * 

overhead. 

It was out of the question to attempt to camp in 
such a place, and the only alternative was an imme- 
diate return by canoe, despite the swollen state of the 
river. Unfortunately the dozen Papuans had also come 
to the same conclusion. In vain did Shortridge attempt 
to keep them out of the boat ; they had made up their 
minds to come, and it was impossible to prevent them. 
They clambered in and, seizing the poles, started the 
overladen and rickety craft on her homeward voyage. 
Though the river was now in full flood, by clever 
handling of the canoe, in which art these people excel, 
they would doubtless have reached home safely had it 
not been for a slightly submerged and quite invisible 
tree-trunk 500 yards above the village of Parimau. 
This, as fate would have it, they struck full in the 
centre, and in an instant the canoe had capsised ; the 
occupants were thrown into the water and struggled 
ashore as best they could. Guns, rifles, and provisions 
went straight to the bottom, whilst the lighter articles 
were whirled away in the darkness. The old men of 
Parimau, hearing the commotion, rushed from their huts 

128 



THE LANGUAGE 

and, wading breast-high into the torrent, seized most 
of the floating goods as they were being swept past the 
village. The women, who on the first alarm had fled 
to the jungle, on learning that no lives had been lost, 
hurried back with demonstrative cries of joy to hug 
and cry over the bedraggled heroes of the adventure. 
No real harm was done, as the weapons were recovered 
when the waters had subsided, and only a few unim- 
portant articles were irretrievably lost. This rapid rise 
of the river was by no means exceptional ; in fact, it 
afterwards became a daily occurrence, varying only 
according to the intensity of the storm and the catch- 
ment area first struck. 

Except for short journeys such as this in the neigh- 
bourhood of Parimau, little could be done at this time 
owing to no coolies being available for transport. Our 
time was occupied in skinning and preparing the natural 
history specimens brought in by the Gurkhas, whilst 
every opportunity was taken to make a fuller study of 
the Papuans working in and around the camp and the 
small parties of visitors who still continued to trickle 
in from the villages lying in more remote districts. 

During the early months of the expedition the diffi- 
culty of mastering even the rudimentary elements of 
the language was such that we were often led into 
forming wrong conclusions as to the customs and habits 
of the people amongst whom we were living. 

As an example of the mistakes which occur when 
one attempts to grasp and put a meaning to the words 
of an unknown tongue, the following is typical. We 
were at this time particularly anxious to reach the 
village of the Tapiro pygmies whose plantations we 
had already visited, or indeed any other village belong- 
ing to this tribe (it was not till several months after- 

129 i 



"OEWERA-MINA" 

wards that we learnt that they were known as Tapiros), 
but, before making any inquiries as to how to get there, 
it was first of all necessary to know what the little men 
were called by their greater brethren of the plains. 
After much discussion we came to the conclusion that 
the word "oewera" meant "men," and the word 
" mina " meant " small/' so having settled this point 
guides were obtained from the village and instructed 
to lead us to the place where the " oewera-mina " 
dwelt. 

Several small journeys were undertaken for the 
purpose of seeing the " oewera-mina " in their homes, 
but, curiously enough, despite the promises of the 
Papuans, not once did we have the slightest success. 

Now, one of the Papuan carriers was of diminutive 
size, and although we knew his real name to be Tibbo, 
as a joke he was nicknamed " Oewera-mina." This 
caused hilarious merriment amongst his friends, and 
despite his evident dislike to the term the name stuck, 
and by it he was known to the end of the expedition. 
Not till long afterwards did we learn that " mina " was 
the Papuan for " no," and discovered that we had been 
making efforts, not to reach the home of the pygmies, 
but the land where "no man" lived. Added to 
this, we had insulted our small carrier whenever we 
addressed him by calling him "no man," a term of 
deadly reproach in this land where woman is held of 
no account. 

As time went on and our knowledge of the language 
increased we were able to form clearer ideas regard- 
ing the customs and beliefs of this primitive people. 
Though their intellectual powers are very limited, and 
though swayed almost entirely by their animal passions, 
the study of their mode of life and ways of thinking 

130 



BIRTH MARRIAGE DEATH 

was exceedingly interesting, and one was enabled to 
realise how the savage forefathers of the British race 
must have lived and reasoned three thousand years 
ago, until contact with the outside world raised them 
to a higher plane of civilisation. 

In most societies the chief incidents in a man's life 
hirth, marriage, or death are associated with be- 
coming rites and ceremonies. Curiously enough, the 
savages of the Mimika district do not attach any 
particular significance to these events, and seldom 
mark them by observances or rejoicings. Marriages, 
except on special occasions, are not considered of 
much importance, and are not celebrated by feasts 
or jollification ; in fact, they might be more properly 
described as " pairing off" than as what we understand 
as marriage. It must be remembered that woman is 
regarded merely as an accessory to man's comfort, a 
slave to his pleasures, and a creature whose chief busi- 
ness it is to procure and prepare his food. The girl is 
purchased and brought home to the man's village. The 
husband erects a separate hut, away from inquisitive 
eyes, but close to the village, and here the couple live 
for two or three weeks, afterwards joining the rest of 
the inhabitants in what is practically the communal 
dwelling-room. It seems strange that the occasion is 
not made more of by organising a " sing-song," a great 
hunt or a feast of some sort, but such is not the case ; 
instead of this all is passed over in complete silence, 
and no particular significance is attached to this 
dominating event in a man's life. Nor is any attention 
paid to birth. Not once were we made aware of the 
coming into the world of a child, and this seems all the 
more curious, as the natives treat the children with 
great kindness and affection. 

181 



BIRTH MARRIAGE-DEATH 

It does sometimes happen in the case of an im- 
portant member of the tribe that the marriage is 
marked by festivities and singing, though even this 
is exceptional. Such an occurrence was witnessed by 
Goodfellow at Wakatimi when the nuptials of one of 
the principal men of the tribe were celebrated. On 
this occasion a large awning was erected in the village 
street and decorated with much trade cloth; beneath 
this a concert was held at which the members of the 
tribe were present. The singing was kept up all night, 
and in the morning canoes, decorated with carving and 
fringes of grass, left the village for some spot down- 
stream. Some few hours afterwards they returned, 
and the men disembarked and re-entered their huts. 
Then followed what to our eyes was a most pitiable 
and degrading ceremony. Out of one of the boats 
emerged the bride, accompanied by a very old woman 
probably her mother. No welcome was accorded them, 
and no notice taken of their presence. The bride, 
preceded by the old woman, crawled out of the canoe 
into the mud, and on her hands and knees approached 
the hut of her lord in the same way that a dog crawls 
up to his master, knowing that he is to be punished for 
some fault. Slowly she advanced in this degrading 
posture, stopping every now and then to grovel in 
the mud, until she vanished through the doorway of 
her future home. Poor woman, who could not but 
pity her ! 

Other rites and ceremonies there may be, but what- 
ever their nature they must be of the simplest possible 
description. Our position at Parimau commanded a 
view right down the village street, and had any celebra- 
tion out of the ordinary taken place we could not have 
helped seeing it. 

132 



DISEASE 

As to death and burial customs there was, unfor- 
tunately, enough evidence and to spare, for probably 
nowhere in the world are the birth and death rates 
so high. Middle-aged men and women are rarely seen, 
and I doubt if any person over forty, or at the most 
forty-five, years of age is to be found in the district. 
Boys spring into manhood and the young girls into 
womanhood in the course of a few months, the latter 
becoming mothers as soon as they are capable of bear- 
ing children, and then withering up and shrivelling 
away under the toil and strain of their laborious exist- 
ence. Several boys whom upon our arrival we had 
looked upon as mere children were amongst the ranks 
of the men when we left the district some fifteen 
months later. 

Fever, boils, pneumonia, elephantiasis, skin disease, 
leprosy, and syphilis are the main ills from which they 
suffer, more especially the last named, which here 
assumes a typical form. About 20 per cent, of the 
population appear to be afflicted with this dire com- 
plaint, the wrists and ankles being the parts chiefly 
affected. The scourge would seem to have been 
brought into the land by the Chinese; at any rate 
there is no doubt that they are responsible for its intro- 
duction amongst the people living in the northern and 
western part of the island, from whence it has spread 
round the coast to the more southern districts. It was 
particularly noticeable amongst the natives of the coast 
village of Atabo, where nearly half the population 
showed visible signs of its ravages. It is unnecessary 
to say more on the subject, for the sights we witnessed 
were too horrible to relate, and the sufferings of the 
stricken, more especially the children, were sufficient to 
melt the stoniest of hearts. What a contrast between 

133 



MEDICINE 

the deformed and shrinking human being and the 
Papuan in rude health, graceful and powerful, every 
muscle standing out clean and distinct and the skin 
gleaming with physical well-being 1 

A great number of the natives appear to suffer at 
some time or other from malaria, and the only wonder 
is that more are not affected, considering how the 
malaria- carry ing mosquito abounds in the swampy 
forests. For this we often gave the people quinine, 
sometimes with astonishing effect. Our old friend, the 
headman of Nime, had his two wives down with fever 
at the same time, and brought them into camp whilst 
we were away at the coast. The younger was the 
prettiest girl in the district, and, to judge by her coy 
behaviour, was well aware of the fact. During her 
examination blushes coloured her dusky skin, and 
Marshall took an unconscionable time in feeling her 
pulse and inquiring into her symptoms. The quinine 
worked wonders, and the fever, which had possibly been 
aggravated by the excitement of the meeting, abated 
almost immediately. 

The people seemed to have no knowledge what- 
etfer of the medicinal value of herbs, and only the 
most rudimentary idea of surgery, limited, so far as 
we could see, to opening the centre of the affected 
area with a split cane. Knowing nothing themselves 
about the art of healing they, like so many savage 
races, loved medicine, and would often feign headache, 
or some such ailment equally hard to diagnose, for the 
purpose of being given a heavy dose of pills. By the 
quickness with which the patient recovered his former 
spirits and the manner in which he settled himself 
where he could most comfortably watch and take an 
intelligent interest in the work being performed by 

134 




AN IDLE DANDY OF PARIMAU 






PAPUANS EXPERIMENTING FOR THE FIRST TIME \VITH SOAP 



MEDICINE 

others, the cure was a high tribute to the skill of the 
doctors, but to the onlooker was open to suspicion. 
Their powers of recuperation are extraordinary. I re- 
member the case of a Parimau man who, when wielding 
an axe, had almost cut his foot in two. Blood poison- 
ing supervened. When the case appeared hopeless and 
the loss of the limb, or even the man's life, was likely 
to result, he was -brought over for Wollaston to attend. 
The wound was disinfected and dressed, and the man 
told to come over again on the following day. As 
might be expected from these perverse people, the 
patient was taken away and no more seen for five 
weeks. He was then found to have completely re- 
covered and to have the full use of his foot, although 
naturally much disfigured, and of this weird limb he 
was inordinately proud. 

No care is ever taken of the sick, since comforts 
and medicines are unknown, and the sufferer breathes 
his last in full view of all, amidst the everyday noises 
and quarrelling of the village. The body is left in the 
place where death supervened, the mourners flinging 
themselves on the corpse and rending the air with their 
shrieks. The howl of grief is taken up by all within 
hearing, and the people then proceed to the nearest 
mud pool to smear themselves from head to foot with 
filth and slime, returning again to their huts to allow 
the mud to dry, whilst the mournful wailing is con- 
tinued without cessation. The near relatives, both 
male and female, often remove every vestige of clothing 
and continue their ordinary vocations for some days 
afterwards without washing off the mud with which 
they are covered. On one occasion, all the women 
having stripped naked, entered the river and paddled 
like dogs for a short distance up stream, returning 

135 



BURIALS 

afterwards with renewed howling to their homes. The 
length of time during which grief is openly displayed, 
and the intensity of its expression, varies according to 
the importance of the deceased, but it is always less for 
a woman than for a man. 

Shortly after the burial of a husband the widow 
adopts "weeds," consisting of a cloak and skirt of 
plaited grass, together with a great poke bonnet which 
stands out from ten to twelve inches beyond the face. 
Widowers, whatever their inner feelings may be, adopt 
no peculiar style of costume to express any outward 
signs of grief. 

If death occurs in the morning the body is interred 
on the same day, otherwise on the day following. It 
is wrapped in pandanus matting, and carried shoulder 
high to the place of interment, followed by the entire 
population amidst outbursts of lamentation. The 
corpse is laid in the grave and covered lightly with 
soil, and is then roughly enclosed with sticks to prevent 
the entrance of the village pigs and dogs. Sometimes 
the body is left uncovered, and is then turned over 
daily, apparently with the object of hastening decom- 
position. A coffin, formed from a hollowed log and 
shaped very much like a canoe, is occasionally utilised, 
and is either buried in the soil or, as we observed in 
some few instances, placed on trestles two or three 
feet above the ground. The result is always the same, 
for in this hot, damp climate the body rapidly decom- 
poses, leaving the bones clean and bare. These are taken 
from the grave or coffin and preserved in the ancestral 
hut, where they may be seen slung in grass bags or sus- 
pended by strings from the roof. The skull, however, is 
the only part deemed of great importance, and even 
then it is only valued at the price of a handkerchief, 

136 



BRISK MARKET IN SKULLS 

Specimens of skulls were required by the expedition 
for scientific purposes, and when this became known 
dozens were displayed or brought to the camp for sale. 
Soon after our arrival at Parimau Marshall saw a skull 
lying on the floor of a hut and at once coveted it, but 
the request to be allowed a close examination pro- 
duced such a scowling and talking that we came to 
the conclusion that these relics of the dead must be 
priceless heirlooms. Determined to secure one by fair 
means or foul, I took the most friendly native to a 
secluded spot, Marshall meanwhile keeping his com- 
panions busy talking ; after much difficulty I succeeded 
in making him understand what was wanted. Fearing 
trouble if the deed was found out, I did my best to 
explain that he was to obtain a skull and bring it over 
to the camp at night, without saying a word about it 
to anyone. For this he was to get a knife and hand- 
kerchief. The prospective desecrator of graves for 
I looked upon him as such at once walked to the 
bank opposite the village and, with a voice which 
could be heard by every soul, brazened forth the fact 
that we were collecting human skulls. I did my best 
to prevent this outburst, but it was too late. In a 
moment the village was in an uproar, but to our 
intense surprise, instead of any hostile demonstration 
taking place, at least a dozen men emerged from the 
huts, each with a skull tucked under his arm. Down 
the beach and through the water they raced to our 
tents, each striving to be the first to dispose of his 
relic, delighted at the idea that trade goods could be 
so easily obtained and no manual labour required in 
return. 

I wish I could say more about the beliefs and 
secret customs of these people, but the great difficulty 

137 



RELIGION 

experienced in understanding one another prevented 
any intelligent conversation on these subjects. When 
alone they would give but little information, and, 
when two or three were together, they insisted upon 
all talking at once. It was bad enough to understand 
when only one man spoke, but when all joined in the 
result was a hopeless babel of sound. Much, however, 
can be learnt by personal observation, and small things, 
apparently unimportant in themselves, when pieced 
together often allow of fairly complete and accurate 
deductions being formed. 

The wailing which takes place on the arrival of 
visitors, and which had so startled us on our first 
journey up the river, we found out afterwards to be 
a form of prayer practised during the performance of 
any risky deed, at the ceremonious slaughter of a pig, 
and even at the setting of the sun. 

There is nothing to indicate that these savages 
have any definite belief in a Deity, nor did we observe 
any signs of religious worship. In front of the 
principal huts in the village of Nim stood a rudely 
carved figure of a man, about four feet in height. 
Another and similar idol was propped against a tree 
in the village of Atabo, whilst a third was discovered 
in some bushes half-way up the Mimika, apparently 
brought down and washed ashore by a flood. The 
natives showed no respect for any of these idols, but 
laughed at our interest in them, familiarly patting their 
rather shapeless limbs. So long had the third specimen 
been in the position in which it was discovered that a 
branch had grown through the ribs, whilst the fact that 
it had remained there such a length of time showed of 
how little value it was in the eyes of those who had 
fashioned its malformed body. 

138 



COURAGE OF THE NATIVES 

Belief in a future life, however, is common to all 
savages throughout the world, and it is the same here, 
for when asked what became of a man after death, the 
native would reply, "Far away," with a vague sweep 
of the hand towards the horizon. 

They are not wanting in courage, which sometimes 
amounts to foolhardiness. On the coast the frail canoes 
are taken far out to sea and through the roughest of 
surf,Vithout any fear being shown of the ground-sharks 
which swarm in these waters. When in a canoe on the 
river, or when swimming, there is no rapid too swift, no 
current too strong, for these men to venture through. 
Even of the alligators the native has no fear, plunging 
in to seize the smaller ones and, at the sight of the 
larger, merely heaving a sigh of regret owing to its being 
beyond his power to secure so large a store of meat. 

On land the same disregard of danger is shown. The 
large number of snakes, mostly poisonous, which abound 
in the forests are looked upon not as dangerous to 
human life, but as a valuable supply of food. At 
Parimau, when it became known that snakes were re- 
quired for the reptile collection, large numbers of horned 
adders and other varieties were brought in to camp, 
though the bite from any of them meant certain death. 
As badly damaged specimens were rejected, they were 
generally brought in alive and uninjured, either held by 
the neck, twisted round a stick, or sometimes even 
wrapped in a bunch of leaves. On one occasion the 
snake was brought in coiled on the top of a bunch of 
leaves, held in the hollow of the bent arm. A life 
of incessant watchfulness has endowed the native with 
a remarkable quickness of eye and deftness of hand. 
As an instance of this, when Goodfellow was crossing a 
small stream on the way to Tuaba, the native immedi- 

139 



COURAGE OF THE NATIVES 

ately in front of him, who was carrying a heavy load, 
made a dive into the shallow trickle of water and 
brought forth a writhing adder in his hand. He was 
quite unconcerned, and after offering it to Goodfellow 
passed it on to the man in rear, telling him to keep it 
for the evening meal. On another occasion when a tree 
which was being cut down crashed into the river, a 
poisonous snake was cast from the branches into the 
water. Our coolies sent a shower of stones after it as it 
swam away, but Nata, a small boy belonging to the 
village opposite, not wishing to lose the chance of the 
reward, plunged into the stream, and grasping the 
wriggling creature behind the head, brought it to land, 
where it was forthwith consigned to the spirit bottle. 

These are only one or two of the numerous instances 
of the fearlessness displayed by the natives in dealing 
with dangerous animals which came to our notice during 
the time we were in the country. 

The power to endure pain is another trait in their 
character. They will stand an operation in silence and 
without flinching. In the various combats with clubs 
which they practise, though each man in turn receives 
resounding thumps on the back, sufficient to break an 
ordinary man's ribs, not a tremor is shown, nor is there 
any shrinking from the punishment. But show them 
something they do not understand, such as an electric 
torch, or a " Teddy bear," and the untutored mind is at 
once full of misgivings. 

The electric torch, brought into the country for 
night work with the theodolite, struck greater terror 
into the hearts of these people than our entire armoury 
of offensive weapons combined. It had to be but 
lifted from the table and every native within view 
would at once leave the camp. The following incident 

140 



USEFUL ELECTRIC TORCH 

will give some idea in what high esteem its magic 
properties were held, and how by its use did a woman 
escape a severe beating, if nothing worse. One night, 
some hours after we had turned in to sleep, we were 
awakened by the shrill screams of a woman in the 
village opposite, accompanied by the guttural exclama- 
tions of a man in anger, and the sound of blows. The 
uproar increased, the whole village was astir, and the 
shadowy forms of men could be seen running back- 
wards and forwards as if seeking for someone. The 
tumult slowly subsided. Beyond this we could make 
out nothing, and were just turning into bed again, when 
a roar of anger went up from the crowd, and a rush was 
made across the shingle beach. Simultaneously there 
was a splash, and by the ripples in the water a figure 
could be seen swimming hard in our direction, evidently 
with the intention of taking cover in the shadow of 
our overhanging bank. We had to try and protect the 
fugitive, doubtless the woman whose screams we had 
heard, but could not lend a helping hand lest our action 
would be detected and a worse retribution eventually 
overtake her. Marshall at the time was holding the 
electric torch, and this he turned full on the people, 
with most striking results. In an instant there was 
dead silence, and without another word being uttered 
or a man venturing to enter the water the crowd dis- 
persed and slunk back to their homes. Who the 
woman was, or what became of her, we know not, but 
that she escaped the first outburst of anger was the 
most important thing, and for this the torch was 
entirely responsible. 



141 



CHAPTER X 

The track to Ibo The Tuaba River Inundations Tattoo marks Hospi- 
tality A critical moment Expeditious house moving A zoological 
collection The bower-bird Birds of paradise Arrival of fresh coolies 
Poling and paddlingTrade articles 

ON the last day of March Marshall and I started on 
a journey eastward along the path discovered by 
Shortridge a fortnight previously. The Papuans were 
only too anxious on this occasion to carry the loads, for 
they had intended in any case to go in that direction, 
and to receive payment for their journey was just what 
they desired* The track branched off from the Mimika 
some three miles above the camp, this circuitous route 
being taken in order to avoid an impassable sago swamp 
which lay directly to the east of Parimau. The going 
was heavy, and from the faintness of the track it ap- 
peared that the road was little used; the bent and 
broken twigs on either hand, however, showed that it 
was the recognised route. Innumerable streams crossed 
the road, several of them waist deep, but otherwise 
there were no obstacles to our progress. 

News of our coming must have been sent on, for 
at the half-way halt half a dozen natives were found 
waiting to assist with the loads. One of these carried 
a young pig, its snout tightly bound with rope, and 
to judge from the torn arm of its owner, a decidedly 
savage little beast. So bad was the inflammation 
and so much pain did it cause that the man was only 
too pleased to have it at once attended to by Marshall. 

142 



THE TUABA RIVER 

In spite of this he absolutely refused to be parted 
from his pig, and I know that he looked after it well, 
as some time afterwards I saw it when fully grown ; 
later on it must have gone the way of all well-flavoured 
pigs, for it disappeared from view. 

Five miles after leaving the Mimika we came out 
on to the banks of one of the channels of the Tuaba, 
which at this time carried a great volume of water and 
was quite unfordable. Luckily a tree had fallen into 
the water and jammed almost from bank to bank, and 
by means of this and a rattan rope we were able to 
reach the other side. The experience was exciting, 
and we were inclined to think dangerous, an opinion 
apparently shared by the natives, judging by the con- 
tinuous wailing which was kept up by the patriarch of 
the party whilst the operation was in progress. Later 
on in the year the river changed into another channel, 
so that this useful natural bridge was no longer 
necessary. 

The Tuaba rises near the foot of the great precipice 
to the north, at a distance of some twenty-five miles or 
more from this place, and is quite as large a river as the 
Kapare. 

There being no ground high and dry above the level 
of the river, the tents were pitched on an island close to 
a few native huts, but owing to the rain which fell during 
the night it proved to be anything but a secure harbour 
of refuge. The water actually spread over the floor of 
the tent, but luckily on this occasion subsided before 
any damage had been done. As long as we were in 
the country we were obliged to use this site to camp 
on, as no higher ground was to be found anywhere 
near. Time and again it was flooded whilst occupied 
by our parties; the baggage on one occasion being 

143 



INUNDATIONS 

rescued by the natives, whilst the coolies had to spend 
the night in the trees. 

During the first six months our coolies were always 
able to cross by means of the fallen tree, but when the 
south-east monsoons broke over the island, and the 
heavy floods formed another channel, some other means 
had to be found. Accordingly, a canoe was brought 
and moored to the trees, and this worked splendidly 
until it was commandeered by the Ibo people, who still 
continued to look upon it as their property although it 
had been bought and paid for. 

Marshall and I had often heard of this village of 
Ibo and the Kamura River upon which it was said to 
be situated, so that we jumped at the chance of joining 
the natives who proposed to make a visit to that place. 
No baggage could be put into the rickety and overladen 
canoe, and as the Tuaba was in full flood after the 
night's rain we had numerous opportunities, when 
racing down stream with the speed of a destroyer, of 
appreciating the balancing abilities of the natives and 
their power of guiding a canoe. At times the boat 
moved slowly over an expanse of mud-coloured water, 
at others it darted at racing speed through narrow 
rapids, whilst the waves splashed over the side, a 
dexterous touch of the pole keeping it clear of the 
half-hidden logs. 

As mile after mile went by the river gradually 
increased in size, and opened out on either hand, the 
dark green of the forest being broken by stretches of 
gravel or occasional masses of dead and tangled timber 
brought down by former floods. 

Two small villages were passed, but the speed at 
which we were going precluded a close examination. 
Eventually seven miles lower down we entered a large 

144 




TATTOOED WOMAN 

Raised weals made by sharpened shells 



f; fl! 




* *^ ar: 

*: ; 



PARIMAU 

The usual idle morning scene in front of the village. 



TATTOO MARKS 

triangular area of water formed* by the junction of the 
Kamura and the Tuaba. Here we landed, for etiquette 
forbade a nearer approach to the village until due warning 
had been given. Ibo could be seen on the right bank 
of the Kamura half a mile away, and it was evident our 
arrival was the cause of much consternation. Men 
were running about grasping spears or bows and arrows, 
and jostling the women folk into the forest. When 
all was ready they advanced towards us in a threatening 
manner. Much waving of rags of cloth on the part of 
our men, and the evidently peaceful attitude we had 
adopted, soon caused these hostile preparations to be 
abandoned, and we were forthwith escorted to the 
village and introduced to numerous talkative and 
highly gratified greybeards. 

There is practically no difference, either in appear- 
ance or in habits, between the men of Parimau and 
Ibo, and they undoubtedly belong to the same tribe. 
Further proof of this is afforded by their having the 
same tribal mark tattooed on the buttocks. Neither 
here nor along the coast do the women bear this mark, 
but instead, simply from love of decoration, they have 
a few unsightly raised and contracted ridges between 
the breasts or on the shoulder-blades. One woman 
in particular, the wife of the chief of Nim, had her 
back extensively scarred with these disfiguring slashes, 
which, as they followed no regular design, did not add 
in any way to the attractiveness of her appearance. 
Except for these unsightly marks the art of tattooing 
seems to be unknown in the district, though it is 
almost universal along the north coast of the island, 
where considerable skill is displayed both in execution 
and design. 

The village of Ibo consisted of thirty of the usual 

145 K 



HOSPITALITY 

leaf huts, from which, as we landed, peered dozens of 
women's and children's faces. No smiles of welcome 
were to be seen, only looks of curiosity or suspicion. 
It is merely by taking not the slightest notice of the 
women, or by passing them over as if their very 
existence was not suspected, that any confidence can 
be obtained by the female section of the population. 
Their opinions have been of such little avail in the 
councils of the men from time immemorial that they 
now look upon themselves as mere chattels. 

However low in the civilised scale the men and 
women may be, they certainly do not lack the ele- 
mentary virtue of hospitality, yet the form in which 
it was offered was little to our liking. Though they 
understood quite well that we intended to return the 
same day to our camp on the Tuaba, and that we 
had brought no tents, food, or bedding with us, they 
insisted upon erecting a hut, in which they told us we 
were to sleep. What mattered it, they said, if there 
was no bedding; was not the sand warm and dry? 
and as for food, was there not an abundance of sago ? 
To prove that we need have no fear of going hungry 
to bed, a couple of large flabby fish were produced. 
We thanked them in the best way we could for their 
offer, but told them that to stay the night was out 
of the question, as only one Gurkha had been left in 
charge of our goods, and that it was necessary to 
return at once. We had hoped that the natives who 
had brought us down the river would likewise take us 
back, but when we asked them to do so not a single 
man would enter the canoe, and the more we tried per- 
suasion the sulkier they became, declaring that they 
had no intention whatever of returning that day. To 
make the matter worse, they refused to deliver up 

146 



A CRITICAL MOMENT 

the plane-table, which had been brought along, and 
which was now in their possession. Unarmed as 
we were the situation began to look rather ugly, 
so in order to prevent any further annoyance the 
canoe was pushed into the river and we prepared to 
get back as best we could. This action turned the 
scale, and showed them that we were determined to 
depart at all costs. As they knew that they would 
get into trouble in the event of disaster overtaking us, 
an old man and woman stepped in, and with their aid 
Tuaba camp was reached by nightfall. 

The conduct of the natives on this occasion was as 
strange as it was annoying, and I should have liked 
to know what their game really was. It is hard to 
believe that desire for our company was the sole reason 
for this obstructive behaviour, particularly as we had 
no trade goods in the canoe, and I wonder whether the 
fact that the Tuaba camp contained plenty of valuable 
stores under the guard of only one man may not have 
had something to do with their refusal. At any rate, 
they suffered for their misbehaviour, for though the 
old man and woman each received an extra good knife 
in payment, the others got nothing when they arrived 
in camp on the following morning. They seemed 
much surprised at this treatment, but solaced them- 
selves with the thought that everything would come 
right if they hurried up and carried well as far as 
Parimau. 

The inhabitants of Tuaba, likewise, decided to 
join our party, the love of trading and desire for 
gain having already taken a strong hold upon them. 
Thirty all told, not including dogs and pigs, were on 
the move within half an hour, and looked a hetero- 
geneous though imposing gathering as they wound 

147 



EXPEDITIOUS HOUSE MOVING 

their way through the jungle. Not an article of 
furniture or raiment was left behind. So frequently 
is this house moving practised that the packing-up 
process is carried out with great speed and the mini- 
mum of fuss. Certainly the amount to be transported 
is comparatively small, and each native knows exactly 
what is his particular branch of work it would be 
more correct perhaps to say the women know, for it 
is they who carry everything, whilst the men do prac- 
tically nothing. The former move the goods outside 
the huts, pack the loads, and, when on the line of 
march, carry by far the heaviest burdens. Apparently 
never quite satisfied that they have enough to carry, 
on the top of all they perch the smaller children, where 
they cling on to any projecting piece of baggage or 
twist their fingers tightly into the fuzzy hair of their 
mothers. Close behind trot the girls and boys, agile 
as cats, each carrying a load suited to his or her 
strength. The men, being lords of everything and 
having power to say who shall work and who shall 
go free, carry nothing more than their spears, and 
maintain that the arduous duty of marking the trail 
and keeping an eye on the dogs is all that can reason- 
ably be expected of them. ^ 

Uninteresting though this journey to Ibo had r 4 iL 
in itself, it was sufficient to prove that the beginnings 
of the longed-for route to the east had been located 
at last. For the present, however, further prospect- 
ing work was out of the question, as with the fickle 
Papuan the only means of transport, distant travel 
was impossible. 

Weeks passed during which every effort was made 
to accumulate stores at Parimau. Until at least a 
month's supplies were in hand, there was nothing to 

148 



A ZOOLOGICAL COLLECTION 

be gained by interfering with the convoys of food and 
undertaking small local expeditions into the surround- 
ing country. 

In the meantime Shortridge and the Gurkhas were 
working hard to form the nucleus of the zoological 
collection. Between them they discovered several 
new species and varieties of small mammals, but con- 
sidering the wide area covered in the search and the 
number of traps set in all the most likely places, the 
results were disappointing, to be accounted for, no 
doubt, by the boggy state of the country and its 
unsuitability to mammal life. To my everlasting 
wonder, the capture of an objectionable rat never 
failed to send Shortridge into ecstasies of delight ; but 
then he is a naturalist, and can satisfy his enthusiasm 
by measuring the length of the hairs of its coat or 
noting the exact tinge of colour, while my ambition 
is to destroy them all and rid the world of a pest. 
The mammals are, without exception, marsupials, and 
the like are not to be found all the world over. 

The birds, on the other hand, are of absorbing 
interest, and in no other part of the world can so 
many species be found, so varied in plumage and so 
spiking in their peculiarities. Nature seems to have 
'ally selected the dark and gloomy forests of New 
Guinea, an impregnable land far from the reach of 
man, as the place in which to experiment in the most 
extravagant combination of colours and in new forms 
of bird life. Of these the collectors were fortunate 
enough to discover ten new species, of which one 
of the most striking was a Bower-bird, obtained 
by Shortridge on the Wataikwa. On the male the 
feathers are long and loose, those on the head, neck, 
and half-way down the back of brilliant orange- 

149 



THE BOWER-BIRD 

scarlet, the cape at times being brought forward as a 
ruff over the head, the rest of the body golden yellow : 
a picture of the most vivid colouring. Bower-birds 
are so called because of the bowers or huts they con- 
struct for nesting purposes in a forest clearing. The 
huts are composed of moss, and are of elaborate struc- 
ture, opening in front on to a lawn or garden, the 
whole laid out with great exactness and scrupulous 
care, and decked with brilliant leaves, flowers, and 
berries. On this dainty lawn the male bird dances 
and disports himself before his mate, or meets other 
males who play and dance together. The flowers and 
berries are grouped or placed in lines, according to 
their colours, and are renewed as soon as they fade. 

Another species of exceptional beauty are the 
Pittars. They like to keep to the ground, and only 
take to flight on the rarest occasions. In shape and 
colouring there is a radical difference between them 
and other birds, but for pure beauty, with their bril- 
liant and variegated plumage of black, chestnut, blue, 
and scarlet, they can easily hold their own. 

Of the birds of paradise, the Kings are by far the 
most common. And what a glorious little gem he is, 
with his glittering scarlet head and back, his carmine 
throat edged with metallic green, two grey fans spring- 
ing from his chest likewise tipped with green and 
spreading out on either side, the under-parts of snowy 
whiteness and with tail feathers of orange-red, the two 
centre ones of which are of great length, having at 
the tips a curled disc of golden green. How lovely he 
looks when dancing before his mate, when the breast 
and fan-like feathers are spread so as to form a shield in 
front, the scarlet feathers fluffed out, and the metallic 
discs of the two tail feathers waving above his head. 

150 



BIRDS OF PARADISE 

Some consider his colours too vivid, and prefer the Rifle- 
bird, with his curved beak, velvety black coat, and 
gorgeous breast of plates of metallic blue-green. The 
noise this bird makes when in flight is as of the rustling 
of hundreds of sheets of paper violently shaken. 

Towards the close of the expedition a new form of 
the Six-plumed Paradise Bird was obtained from the 
Iwaka River, a wonderfully decorated bird with the 
crown of old gold, silvery white and brown, and on 
the occiput a patch of stiff metal-like feathers, golden- 
green bordered with violet. On either side of the 
eye there spring three long plumes on bare shafts, a 
striking peculiarity. 

Then there is the Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise 
with back and neck plumage of dark brown plush, 
wings of deep violet, and breast feathers edged with 
emerald green. On the sides are long ornamental 
plumes of bright yellow, and the rest of the under 
parts of the same colour. Add to the list the wonderful 
Magnificent, Greater, and others, and nothing in the 
world can be found to equal the splendour and variety 
of the birds of New Guinea. 

Many other varieties are just as beautiful in their 
way, the Sun-birds, Honey-eaters, Fly-catchers and 
Flower-peckers. The Manucodes, with their sombre- 
coloured but glittering feathers, form the link between 
the birds of paradise and the true crows, and are 
peculiar in that the trachea is convoluted into as many 
as twelve coils. 

Lovely creatures in a hideous country. 

Although so pleasing to the eye, they are singularly 
deficient in song, the paradise birds venting their 
feelings in piercing unmusical notes, and most of 
the remainder in twitterings. It struck me as so 

151 



ARRIVAL OF FRESH COOLIES 

peculiar that in this dark and dreary land, where hardly 
a speck of colour is to be found in a day's march, the 
birds should have been adorned by Nature in a very riot 
of colour. 

In April, three and a half months after landing, forty- 
five coolies arrived, recruited for the most part in the 
islands of Banda, Buton, and Amboina ; these were at 
once put on to the work of transporting food- supplies 
up the river to our advanced base at Parimau. On the 
whole they were of a superior stamp to those previously 
engaged, but it is a task beyond any man's power to select 
suitable carriers from such a weedy and anaemic race. 

Horribly wearisome were the six days of steady, 
monotonous labour required to cover the short distance 
of thirty-seven miles which lay between Wakatimi and 
Parimau, and on Marshall's and Wollaston's shoulders 
fell the brunt of this work. Even after the arrival of 
the new coolies, and despite the energy and perseverance 
displayed by all hands, the depressing fact soon became 
evident that arrangements on a still larger scale would 
be necessary in order to accumulate a sufficient reserve 
of supplies at the up-i*iver camp. As the result of three 
months' labour we had merely a surplus of ten bags of 
rice and a few of our own personal effects. 

With the exception of a couple of days' work during 
the first journey, the natives of Wakatimi never again 
gave us the slightest assistance, and so little did they 
relish the idea of any form of manual labour that on the 
days when the canoes were being loaded they would 
desert the village, and keep out of sight until the last 
convoy was under way, and there was no longer any 
danger of their being impressed for the work. Keen as 
they were to obtain cloth, they could not summon up 
sufficient energy or determination to face a few days 

152 



POLING AND PADDLING 

canoe paddling up the Mimika River. At first we 
ascribed this aversion solely to laziness, but, as we got 
to know them better, we came to the conclusion that it 
was as much due to their unwillingness to cross the 
boundary line between the up- and down-river tribes as 
to their natural sloth. 

It was not long before our own coolies, who when 
first imported were quite ignorant of any form of canoe 
work, realised that it was necessary to master the rudi- 
ments of paddling and to work with a will in order to 
obviate the unpleasantness of having their evening meals 
postponed till after nightfall, and their tents pitched in 
torrents of rain. Unlike the Papuans they preferred to 
paddle in the sitting position, thereby losing driving 
power but gaining stability. Practice makes perfect, and 
after two or three journeys the more willing ones were 
as good with their paddles as any man could wish to find. 
Poling the boats, however, was quite another matter, and 
though all took their turn but few became proficient. 

The intermediate camping grounds were fixed so 
that a stage necessitated six or seven hours steady work ; 
this distance proving to be as much as the coolies could 
accomplish in such a damp, steamy climate. The day's 
journey invariably ended in drenching rain, with the 
added joys of a sodden camp and smoky fires, and 
rarely, indeed, did fortune favour us sufficiently to allow 
of a dry resting-place and comfortable bed. 

Accustomed as they were to the slothful life led by 
the inhabitants of the East Indian Islands, this heavy 
work and the attendant discomforts soon told on the 
health of the less robust coolies. Fever broke out, and 
together with sunstroke and boils, was soon responsible 
for passing twenty-five per cent, of the force into the 
hospital which had been erected at WakatimL The 

153 



TRADE ARTICLES 

work of doctoring these men, as well as the sick amongst 
the Javanese escort and convicts, was one of Wollaston's 
duties. The Javanese at Wakatimi suffered even more 
than our own men, which would lead one to think that 
the Amboinese are the sturdier race of the two ; the 
excessive amount of sickness at the base camp may, 
however, have been partly due to the lack of good drink- 
ing water the river here being tidal, and the camp 
refuse swept backwards and forwards with every tide. 

Had the Wakatimi natives been willing to assist in 
the paddling of our canoes, what stores of wealth they 
might have accumulated ! Anything and everything 
they desired might have been theirs for the asking, whilst 
our overworked coolies would have been available for 
work at the head of the river, and in a position to tran- 
sport the stores along the forest paths from Parimau. 

Nearly all the trade articles were just what the 
savages wanted, but several of the things, though 
popular in other parts of New Guinea, found no favour 
in the sight of the people of this district. Jews' harps, 
for instance, were scorned, and the men and women 
would barely accept them as a gift, the few disposed of 
being utilised as earrings. Looking-glasses were also 
not appreciated. It was not that the men did not want 
to have a look at themselves, but that they did not 
seem to want to do it more than once. I would be the 
last to suggest that they were deficient in looks, or that 
vanity went for nothing with them, but however little 
pleasure they themselves received from the experiment, 
it was to us a never-failing source of amusement. The 
candidate in the beauty competition, for such it seemed 
to be when an expectant crowd had collected round, 
settled himself on his haunches, and when comfortable, 
confidently raised the glass before his eyes. This invari- 

154 



TRADE ARTICLES 

ably led to the development of a broad smile the first 
impression was good. But the longer he looked and the 
more carefully he examined himself in detail the more 
disappointed he became. The smile vanished, giving 
place to a look of surprise, and then, as the defects of 
hair, eyes, and nose became impressed on his mind, the 
confident air changed to one of disapproval. With a sigh 
the glass would be passed to the next competitor, who 
would be fidgeting in rear, eagerly awaiting his turn. 

Beads, particularly large blue ones, were in great 
demand and readily bartered, but towards the end of 
our stay became a drug in the market ; they at no time 
approached in value some ancient ones, oval in shape 
and light blue in colour, already in their possession 
before we arrived, and which had probably been im- 
ported from the Aru Islands. 

To be the possessor of a steel axe-head is the native's 
highest ambition, but when he has obtained his wish it 
need not be expected that any further work will be got 
out of him, and for this reason they were but sparingly 
issued until towards the close of the expedition. An 
axe-head is a good thing to give in exchange for a canoe, 
or in payment of a prolonged period of work, but is too 
much to give for anything less. Knives also are much 
sought after, but the same thing applies to them as to 
axe-heads. No one wants to possess a dozen knives, so 
why do unpleasant work to gain more than is required. 
Empty tins, jam jars, and bottles are good articles of 
exchange, particularly kerosene oil cans ; these latter are 
valued as forming a dry portable safe in which to store 
the family treasures. The very old and dilapidated tins 
are used to boil water in, and were considered a great 
improvement on the hollow bamboos or cocoanut shells 
which, until we arrived, were the largest receptacles 

155 



TRADE ARTICLES 

used for this purpose. In the Mimika district many 
hundreds of these kerosene tins must have been accumu- 
lated by the savages, sufficient to make the present 
generation happy for years to come. Salt, a good trading 
medium in other parts, is here useless, as the people 
have a particular dislike to the taste. On this account 
they refused, even when suffering from hunger, to touch 
our dried and salted fish. 

There is one thing, however, which the Mimika 
native never tires of and will hoard to his dying day, and 
that is cloth. Quality, colour, condition, and shape are 
matters of little import; as long as it is cloth, that 
suffices. Most of it vanishes into the aforementioned 
tin family chest, but quite a quantity is utilised as wear- 
ing apparel. A Papuan clothed in a vest full of holes, 
a torn and dirty old coat, or a shapeless cloth cap is not 
a pleasant sight, but is generally a proud and happy man. 

The natives of Parimau quite appreciated the im- 
portance to them of making a corner in cloth, and did 
their best to control the market. On the arrival of 
visitors with articles for sale they would hurry over and 
tell us to pay for anything we might want in tins, bottles, 
or beads, but on no account to give cotton goods. 
Having thus arranged affairs to their satisfaction they 
would escort the strangers to our camp. If we offered 
some rubbish, such as an old tin in exchange for a bunch 
of bananas which the Parimau men would not have 
sold under the price of a knife they would exclaim 
with much enthusiasm, " Good, good ! " " Take it !" and 
would congratulate their friends on the excellence of 
the bargain made. Still, greatly to the disgust of our 
neighbours, we generally insisted on paying cloth to 
strangers who brought fruit, if only to encourage them 
to come again with further supplies. 

156 



CHAPTER XI 

A village brawl Cooled ardour A pig festival Highway robbery Resti- 
tution Theft Dishonoured notes Wife beating Our steam-launch 
A transformation The Dreadnought 

TjlIGHTS and festivals, but more often the former, 
-L in the village of Parimau helped to while away the 
time and add variety to our rather monotonous exist- 
ence. Occasionally the fights were on a large scale and 
affected the entire community ; at other times they were 
restricted to families or even individuals. 

One morning, towards the latter end of April, we 
were awakened by a din sufficient to rouse the dead, 
and found men hurrying up and down the village 
street shouting and gesticulating wildly, in a fever 
of excitement. The quarrel ended in the usual manner 
by the able-bodied men rushing to arms and indis- 
criminately attacking one another. Several of them 
appeared to join in just for the sake of the fun, adding 
fuel to the fire and affording additional amusement to 
us. Whilst the main fight was going merrily on, these, 
starting on the outside of the crowd, would set to work 
to carve a way through with their clubs, and as soon as 
they had reached the other side, would turn about and 
start afresh. This horseplay was not resented by the 
remaining combatants, who were perhaps too engrossed 
in their own personal quarrel to pay any attention to 
this outside distraction. The peacemakers, of whom 
many were women, at length brought the fight to a close, 
but not before several severe wounds had been given 

157 



A VILLAGE BRAWL 

and received. Two brothers strongly resented this 
truce ; they were out for a fight and some excitement, 
and did their best to keep it up, going from house to 
house and challenging any and all to combat. It was 
difficult to make out what all the trouble was about, 
but it seemed that a woman was at the bottom of it, 
and as she could not be found, it was then and there 
determined that the entire population should set out 
for Ibo, seize her by main force if found, and, as they 
explained by graphic actions, cut her throat. 

All were full of ardour, and preparations were at 
once made to put the plan into execution. Whilst the 
women were packing the sago bags and other impedi- 
menta the men decorated themselves with plumes and 
got together their spears, bows and arrows, stone clubs, 
and in fact anything which might come in handy as a 
weapon. No doubt for our edification they did not 
neglect to ostentatiously sharpen their trade knives. 
Soon all was ready, the signal was given for the 
advance, and the march began with the more blood- 
thirsty savages in the van, whilst the laggards followed 
in a long straggling line. The preparations, however, 
had taken some time to complete, and as the desire for 
vengeance, at first so overpowering, began to cool, 
the more timid and peaceably inclined fell farther 
to the rear. 

Some sat down to discuss the situation ; others re- 
turned to search for mythical or mislaid articles, until 
at last the leaders, obliged to stop and see what 
detained the remainder, themselves sat down to in- 
vestigate the delay and discuss the matter afresh. 
More talking and more quarrelling ensued, until it was 
finally decided that the great attack should be post- 
poned till the morrow. Fickle creatures ! When 

158 



COOLED ARDOUR 

morning dawned the whole affair had been forgotten, 
or was not considered of sufficient importance to justify 
further action ; no warlike preparations were made, and 
the women went as usual to their sago swamp, whilst 
the men returned to their peaceful pursuit of canoe 
building. 

Instead of the bloodthirsty raid which they had 
contemplated making upon their eastern neighbours, 
they were, on the following day, themselves peacefully 
invaded by the very men whom they had intended to 
attack. Had we not witnessed both events, it would 
have been hard to believe that such violent anger 
and thirst for revenge could have evaporated in so 
short a time. 

The new-comers, received with open arms and 
treated as old and trusted friends, were soon housed, 
and as they brought a full-grown pig and plenty of 
food, were made doubly welcome. They proved to be 
the forerunners of a considerable influx from the villages 
lying to the east, and as the numbers grew it became 
evident that an event of great importance was about to 
take place. The housing accommodation was strained 
to the utmost, so much so that the new dancing hall 
had to be appropriated as a sleeping room, providing 
shelter to over thirty families. 

An air of suppressed excitement pervaded all, and 
even the two village boars, who, sad to relate, were 
destined to play an important part in the proceedings 
later on, were galvanised into unwonted activity by the 
noise and the unusual number of full sago dishes placed 
before them. 

For two days the music of the tom-toms was 
incessant, and culminated in an outburst of dancing 
and singing on the evening of the 3rd of May. At 

159 



THE PIG FESTIVAL 

midnight the dancing ceased and the women retired, 
but the deep-toned note of the drum continued, each 
beat being followed by a howl from the men until the 
sun rose over the trees to the east. At an early hour a 
native appeared in our camp with the request that we 
should come over and see the show. As we approached 
children carrying drums were already marching down 
the beach, and there, taking up a position at the far 
end, started an orchestra of their own. Close behind 
came the two boars, driven into the jungle by weeping 
women, and thence by a hidden path back into one of 
the huts. As soon as the animals were safely housed 
the men formed themselves into a three-sided square, 
the flanks of which consisted of those armed with 
feathered spears and paddles, whilst the end was closed 
by the orchestra. Behind the musicians were grouped 
the women and children. 

Chanting loudly the square advanced, being ha- 
rangued at intervals by the headman of the village, 
who, when he had worked himself up to the proper 
pitch of excitement, terminated the scene by discharg- 
ing two arrows over the tree tops an action loudly 
acclaimed by the audience. A general move was then 
made to the village, where Marshall and I were given 
the position of honour close to a sloping platform which 
had been erected during the hours of the night. 

After a short pause the men, armed with large 
rattan nooses, placed themselves on either side of the 
hut within which the pigs were confined, and at a 
given signal the animals were driven forth, successfully 
overpowered and trussed, their snouts tightly bound 
and chalk thrown into their faces and eyes. With a 
man seated astride each animal, and to the accom- 
paniment of loud wails from the women, they were 

160 



THE PIG FESTIVAL 

lifted shoulder-high, carried to the place of slaughter, 
and lashed to the platform. 

The executioners with their clubs took up posi- 
tion, whilst the audience, numbering some two hun- 
dred souls, crowded closely around, and as the rain 
of blows fell, drowned the squeals of the victims by 
yells and the beating of drums. Death must have been 
instantaneous, but the basting continued until the car- 
cases had ceased to quiver, when for quite five minutes 
the entire audience gave itself up to unrestrained wail- 
ing and gnashing of teeth; the women hugging and 
clasping the carcases in their unnatural grief, whilst the 
air rang with shrieks and tears coursed down every cheek. 
Gradually the sounds of lamentation decreased in 
volume, only to break out with renewed violence as a 
three-year old child, painted from head to foot in a 
bright red pigment, was brought forth from a hut, 
lifted shoulder-high and carried to the now empty 
platform. In a flash the same thought passed through 
our minds ; the boy was to be sacrificed ! As the pigs 
had died so would he die! Slaughtered to make a 
savage holiday, or to fulfil some barbaric rite ; and we 
were to stand by and watch it ! but no, not if we 
could prevent it. One hurried whisper, cameras were 
closed, and we were ready for action. What we would 
have done I hardly know, but fortunately active inter- 
cession was delayed until a more definite and critical 
stage in the proceedings should arrive. Foolish indeed 
should we have looked had we dramatically interfered 
at that moment, driven the crowd away and seized the 
child. As it turned out, no such barbaric practice as 
the sacrifice of an innocent child was contemplated. 
Far from killing the boy, all that was done was to carry 
him in triumph round the platform and then back into 

161 L 



THE PIG FESTIVAL 

the hut. It was but the final stage of a ceremony of 
initiation into boyhood, and from what we could learn 
had some connection with the piercing of the ears ; a very 
different business to what we had expected ! Marshall 
and I glanced foolishly at one another, and smiled as 
we realised how near we had been to making ourselves 
ridiculous. 

The ceremony continued. The dead pigs were now 
placed side by side in the village square, and the men 
took it in turn to leap over them and administer blows 
with heavy clubs as they passed. Twice was this 
repeated, and then, seizing the carcases, the whole 
party jumped into the river. A general washing and 
cleaning up followed, after which the pigs, their legs 
lashed together, were carried solemnly towards the shore. 
The mob having been again harangued by the headman, 
the carcases were cut up and the meat distributed. 

The remainder of the day was given up to general 
jollification and good-natured horse-play in which the 
women had a particularly good time of it; for once 
in a way they had the right to beat and cane the men 
to their hearts' content, and pay off old scores. The 
men were not allowed to retaliate, and if they wished 
to escape chastisement had to seek refuge in the jungle 
or in the deeper pools of the river. Little anger was 
shown, and everything was taken in good part; the 
entire population was out for a day's amusement and 
made the most of it. The damsels were as bold as 
brass, and generally devoted their attentions to the 
best-looking young men, and that may account for the 
fact that they flocked over to our camp and attacked 
us in our stronghold. Here they thoroughly enjoyed 
themselves, until at last we rounded on them and gave 
chase in turn, administering corporal punishment to 

162 



HIGHWAY ROBBERY 

the captured, an operation they seemed to like, and to 
which they surrendered themselves without one genuine 
struggle. Seeing them thus harmlessly at play, it was 
hard to realise that these same people on the slightest 
provocation become very demons of fury with passions 
utterly beyond control. 

The day of festival, however, was to end with an 
incident, all the more unpleasant after the previous 
rejoicings and good-fellowship. Cramer with six 
canoes appeared round the bend of the river. As a 
rule the arrival of a convoy from below set the village 
in a state of excitement, the men rushing down to 
greet the new-comers and assist in unloading the stores, 
much of which they knew would finally come into their 
hands. On this occasion not a man moved, and the 
sounds of revelry suddenly ceased. We did not have 
to wait long for an explanation. Cramer brought the 
unpleasant news that our coolies, when returning from 
Parimau the previous week, had been robbed of much 
of their clothing at a point on the river not two miles 
below the camp, and that the people of Parimau had 
been recognised as the culprits. 

We had noticed that the natives were rather trucu- 
lent when the convoy started on that morning, and, as 
a precautionary measure, had supplied the overseer 
with a gun so that he might not be defenceless in case 
of emergency. In spite of this his heart failed him, 
and his twenty followers proved equally poor spirited, 
for when five unarmed savages met them and demanded 
their clothing, not one of them was man enough to 
offer the slightest resistance. What astonished us most 
was the cool impudence of the whole proceeding, for 
though the natives must have known that we would 
hear of the assault sooner or later, they had been 

163 



RESTITUTION 

behaving since the episode took place in the most open 
and unconcerned manner. 

Late as it was, it was necessary to inquire into the 
affair at once, and that the savages quite anticipated 
some forcible action on our part was shown when 
Marshall and I stepped into the canoe. The whole 
village was seized with panic, and within three minutes, 
and before we could reach the nearest huts, had cleared, 
bag and baggage, into the forest. The difficulty was 
how to get at the criminals. They and their friends 
could be heard skulking in the jungle close at hand, but 
it was a considerable time before we could see them and 
get an answer to our hails, for to have bearded them 
in the dense undergrowth would have been courting 
disaster. Finally a man, better known to us than the 
rest, peered from the cover of a great tree behind which 
he had taken refuge. To him we addressed ourselves, 
but in spite of the most persuasive epithets he would 
neither approach nor allow anyone else to do so until 
we had promised to retire the main part of our force 
across the river. He knew very well what we were 
after, and of his own accord promised to return the stolen 
goods. When the place had been cleared of our people, 
with the exception of Marshall and myself, the inhabi- 
tants began to trickle back, the innocent first, then the 
more guilty. Their behaviour was extraordinary. In- 
stead of denying all knowledge of the theft they owned 
up at once, asking whether we really wanted the things 
back, and when told to bring them immediately, ex- 
pressed the greatest surprise, and without more ado set 
about collecting the goods. These had been distributed 
amongst so many that not half could be found, though 
we were able to recover several blankets, trousers, 
jerseys and knives. I am finally convinced, however, 

164 



RESTITUTION 

that all the articles that could be traced were returned, 
for the Wania people (a village situated three days' 
journey to the east) had also been in the business, and 
they had trekked to their distant homes at the first alarm. 
As a result of this unpleasant occurrence the day of 
jollity was transformed into one of gloom ; all revelry 
ceased, the few remaining visitors left the village, and 
not a whisper broke the stillness of the night. 

The question now remained as to how the delin- 
quents were to be punished for their treachery. I 
think the course we eventually decided on was certainly 
the most politic, and likewise the most effective in the 
long run. 

The inhabitants were collected, and clearly told 
what they might expect in the way of reprisals should 
anything like this ever occur again: they were then 
dismissed and the incident wiped out To their credit 
be it said, the forbearance on our part was appreciated 
in so far that open violence was never again repeated. 
The lesson was taken to heart. Though we had some- 
times been blamed for not taking more drastic steps to 
punish the marauders, such as burning down the village, 
the future showed that our action was the correct one 
under the circumstances. Had more severe measures 
been adopted, we should never again have had a chance 
of employing these men as carriers, and the expedi- 
tion would have collapsed. Had one of them been 
shot or the village destroyed, I feel certain that the 
men of Parimau would have deserted for good and all, 
and that never another load would have been carried. 
It must not be forgotten that the shooting of two 
savages at Wakatimi in the early days of the expedition, 
though entirely necessary and justifiable, had almost led 
to open hostilities, which were only averted by one of 

165 



THEFT 

the enemy coming over to us and disclosing the fact 
that the people were stealthily collecting large quanti- 
ties of arrows in the vicinity. This had enabled Cramer 
to make such effective preparations for defence that the 
attackers became aware that their intentions were no 
longer a secret, and therefore that an attempted surprise 
would have no chance of success. 

The Mimika Papuan is not an adept thief, carrying 
out the business in such an open and flagrant manner 
that immediate detection is the result. He will appro- 
priate anything left lying about if he considers it of any 
use to him, and if he picks up a fallen article on the 
road he looks upon it as his rightful property. 

On the whole, however, we lost very little, and what 
things were missed from the cook and store houses can 
with more probability be put down to the account of 
our own men, as every native in the East Indies is an 
expert in the burglar's art. I imagine there is little, if 
any, stealing among the Papuans themselves. They 
seem to take a pride in deceiving one by deliberate 
lying, and when detected show more amusement than 
shame ; they have hardly the requisite amount of brains 
ever to become highly successful exponents of the art. 
What they lacked in skill they made up for in cunning, 
and one little affair in particular showed how their 
minds were continually working to get the better of us. 
Such simplicity can hardly be believed possible, but the 
most remarkable thing to their minds was the manner 
in which the plot was detected. It happened thus. 

As we had no system of runners, we found it con- 
venient to give notes and letters to be delivered by the 
Papuans who were returning to the camps, and the 
effect these strips of paper had upon the savages was 
the cause of much amusement, for it was quite beyond 
the comprehension of the bearers how the missives could 

166 



DISHONOURED NOTES 

convey any kind of information. Later on, when the 
notes often meant the reward of an axe or a piece of 
cloth for work accomplished, and they found that pay- 
ment was made immediately the paper was opened, 
they became highly interested and hugged their pay- 
ment orders as if they were bank notes, as, in fact, to 
them, they were. We had only to give a man a note 
and say that it represented an axe or whatever the pay- 
ment was and he was perfectly satisfied. As they were 
never deceived they trusted us implicitly, sometimes 
not coming up for payment till many days had elapsed. 
This prompt exchange on the presentation of a slip of 
paper awakened their cupidity, and set their cunning 
brains to work. 

If one piece meant the gift of one knife, they 
reasoned, then why not hand in half a dozen slips and 
receive half a dozen knives. No sooner was the simple 
plan thought of than it was put into practice. 

When, shortly afterwards, Marshall was paying a 
string of Papuans according to what was written on each 
man's paper, four or five of the village loafers joined 
the line, and with a calm and confident air handed in 
three Lemco labels and two strips of the wrapping. 
Great was the indignation and loud their protestations 
at the unceremonious way in which their papers were 
treated, but there was not a sign of embarrassment or 
shame. The failure upset their calculations for a time, 
but they were quite determined to have another try. 
How we could have told the difference between one 
paper and the other was the point that puzzled them, 
and so they put their heads together, and the reasons 
were thoroughly thrashed out. The result of their 
deliberations was soon evident. 

I had sent Wallaston a note, twisted in the form of 
a billet-doux, requesting him to pay something to the 

167 



WIFE BEATING 

carrier. With this was presented a second paper 
twisted in identically the same manner, and purport- 
ing to come from me. Unfortunately, however, there 
was nothing written inside. In spite of indignant pro- 
testations and declarations that it meant an axe head 
to be given to the bearer, this great coup came to 
nothing ; and to be turned out of camp with empty 
hands, and to the music of ribald laughter, was heart- 
breaking. After this failure nothing more was 
attempted in the same line it looked so simple and 
yet never bore fruit ; and as forgery was out of the 
question, the idea of obtaining goods by this means 
was abandoned. 

What with profitless attempts to cheat, lying which 
brought no ultimate gain, desertions on the road which 
forfeited pay already earned, and lastly, stolen goods 
which had to be restored, the savages at length began to 
realise that it was better to be fairly honest and so to be 
punctually rewarded, than to be permanently debarred 
from sharing in the wealth which was slowly accumu- 
lating in the huts of the steadier men of the village. 

As their worldly goods increased the ferocious 
brawls diminished in frequency, until there was very 
little in the behaviour of the natives of which we could 
reasonably complain. It takes more than a few months, 
however, to change the nature of a savage, and brutality 
was by no means uncommon amongst them. One day, 
for instance, I saw a man rush at a woman, and with 
one blow of his club fell her to the ground. Fortu- 
nately the blow was a glancing one, merely lacerating 
her scalp and knocking her senseless. But although 
this deed was done in the midst of the community, and 
witnessed by many, no one seemed to take the slightest 
notice, until, ten minutes later, another woman crept 
up to attend to the unfortunate victim. Ordinary 

ifift 



OUR STEAM-LAUNCH 

wife-beatings were of frequent occurrence, and during 
the still hours of night the shrill cries of a woman in 
pain often reached our ears. Still, on the whole, there 
was a marked improvement in the general behaviour of 
the community. 

These remarks apply only to the Parimau and up- 
river people, for the Wakatimi native remained to the 
end as objectionable as he was in the beginning in fact 
he rather deteriorated. In his case increased wealth 
meant a more slothful life and greater leisure to spend 
time under the sugar-palms, getting drunk. Even the 
headman, one of the best natives there and a man who 
had been of great assistance to us when we first entered 
the country, took so heavily to drink that he succeeded 
in killing himself before we left the country. 

In May I moved back to Wakatimi, to take my 
turn at the never-ending transport work. This task of 
trying to accumulate stores at Parimau appeared hope- 
less with simple canoe transport, for the load of each 
convoy was eaten up before the next supply arrived, 
and it became evident that unless some form of 
mechanical transport could be obtained, a definite for- 
ward move was out of the question. We had already 
tried the experiment of working with a steam-launch, 
borrowed from one of the relief ships, but it had re- 
sulted in failure. The engine was of very low power, 
and after a slight collision with a sunken log a mile 
from the start, was unable to make any headway 
against the current, whilst with laden canoes in tow 
she actually lost ground. No shock of collision had 
been felt, but the fact of the shaft being bent was suffi- 
cient to show what had happened. After being floated 
back to camp she lay idle for a month, and was even- 
tually returned to the parent ship. 

As the result of this experience the relieving ship 

169 



A TRANSFORMATION 

showed no eagerness to repeat the experiment, and 
Goodfellow decided to cross to Dobo at the first oppor- 
tunity to see if it was possible to purchase a motor boat 
from the pearl fishers. Pending the arrival of this boat, 
there was little to do except to search for some navi- 
gable creek by which we could move from the Mimika 
to another larger and more navigable river to the east, 
a river which might afford an easier approach to the 
mountains, and still enable us to use Wakatimi camp 
as a base from which to draw supplies. 

How Wakatimi camp had changed during the few 
months I had been away in the interior! Where, 
before, nothing but primeval forest was to be seen, 
there now stretched rows of neat, roomy huts and 
fenced-in gardens, covering an area of three or four 
acres ; these gardens were planted with all manner of 
Indian corn, bananas, papayas, chillies, and other tropical 
produce, systematically arranged and divided by neat 
paths. Immediately behind the houses lay the open 
drill field for the soldiers of the escort, and beyond this 
the burial-ground Stalker's grave no longer the only 
one there. Along the river front were the bathing and 
washing pools, near which alligators, and now and again 
a shark, would suddenly appear; though they never 
did any harm, their occasional appearance lent some 
excitement to the soldiers' monotonous lives and sup- 
plied them with a topic of conversation. 

From the north end of the camp a strong, solid 
pier now stretched far into the river, by means of 
which boats were easily and expeditiously unloaded. 

The houses, which were well built and airy, were all 
of the same type, a framework of wood being covered 
with pandanus leaves and matting; the latter article 
mostly made by a few industrious natives living in the 
small village of Tourapaya, just north of the camp. 

170 



THE "DREADNOUGHT" 

Apart from the fact that the site was bad, being 
nearly flush with the water, no camp could have been 
better laid out, and the manner in which it had been 
planned and built reflected great credit upon all who 
were engaged in the work, and more particularly on 
Cramer. The position itself was the only one possible, 
for there was no elevated ground within the tidal area. 
Had a site been selected farther inland, it would still 
have been liable to periodic inundations, and on account 
of the shallowness of the river would, moreover, have 
often been beyond the reach of any launch sent by the 
visiting ship. 

This low-lying, swampy plain, which extends along 
the coast almost from end to end of Dutch New Guinea, 
is a serious drawback to successful colonisation, and will 
constitute an almost insurmountable obstacle to the 
progress and civilisation of the country. 

With the object of looking for this inland passage 
to the east, I one day took the largest canoe and four 
men, and proceeded down stream to Atabo, the fishing 
village at the mouth of the Mimika. It was unsatisfac- 
tory work, for though the men of Parimau told us there 
was such a passage they could not show us the way, whilst 
the men of the coast tribes flatly said the route we were 
looking for was quite imaginary. For the journey I 
used the Dreadnought, an immense canoe, originally 
purchased by Marshall. So great was her beam that a 
small camp bedstead could have been opened and laid 
out inside, and as she had proved far too heavy for 
convoy work on the upper reaches of the Mimika, she 
was mainly utilised for bringing stores from the coast 
to Wakatimi, particularly when the ship's launch was 
ready to lend a hand at towing. Tide and wind being 
against us on this occasion, it took the whole day to 
reach the mouth of the river, only four and a half 

171 



QUESTIONINGS 

miles away from camp. There, indeed, I was lucky to 
obtain a view of the mountains entirely free from cloud 
a most unusual occurrence and was enabled to fix 
the position of the snows and prominent peaks for the 
survey. The outlook was grand in the extreme ; the 
blue mountains, the snowfields, glaciers and pinnacles 
showing up clearly above the dark green of the forest. 
How beautiful they were ; but how distant ! Could 
we ever reach them by the road we were following ? 
Would the coolies last out under the strain ? If so, 
would they be able to climb those rugged peaks ? To 
these and many other questions one's heart regretfully 
answered "No." "You must return, reorganise, and 
start afresh on some greater river to the east ! " But 
was this possible ? At Wakatimi a town had been con- 
structed, and in it were piled more than enough stores 
to load a ship, much of it our own, but the greater part 
belonging to the Dutch escort. Could we ask a gene- 
rous foreign government which had brought us here at 
great expense to take us back and despatch the whole 
expedition afresh in another direction ? Was there a 
reasonable chance of our being supplied with a suit- 
able class of coolie ? Could fresh funds be raised, good 
mechanical transport obtained, new food-stuffs pur- 
chased, and another six months spent in reorganising ? 
There was only one answer, " No ! " It was too much 
to ask or to expect. For better or for worse we must 
carry on where we were, making up our minds to 
struggle on eastward through the forest and across the 
foothills, to work at the survey and at the collections, 
until the best that could be done was accomplished and 
the snows approached as near as possible* 



172 



CHAPTER XII 

The village of Nime An inundated village A timely rescue Barter and 
exchange Clubs StrategySecond trip up the Kaiqua 

HAVING explored two or three creeks and found 
that they only led into the heart of the man- 
grove swamps, we entered a passage directly opposite 
to the night's camp, and by far the largest and most 
promising opening as yet seen. The tide was running 
strongly against us, and with only four paddles at 
work progress was very slow, when suddenly a canoe- 
load of savages, appearing from nowhere, ranged along- 
side, and the occupants taking it for granted that we 
required their services, soon had the old Dreadnought 
moving through the water at an undreamt-of rate. For 
two miles or more we traversed a channel 300 feet wide, 
running parallel to the coast, and then, turning sharply 
to the south, entered an overgrown creek which had 
nothing to distinguish it from hundreds of others lying 
on either hand. After forcing a way for half an hour 
through a tangled mass of branches, we unexpectedly 
entered a landlocked bay, on the shores of which is 
situated the village of Nim& 

The village stretches along both sides of the bay, and 
consists of several hundreds of huts which, on account 
of the limited space available, are built so close together 
that two or even three rows are required to house the 
large population. 

The excitement occasioned by our sudden arrival 
was intense, the whole population at once taking to its 

173 



THE VILLAGE OF 

heels and fleeing to the j ungle. Seeing, however, that no 
other canoes accompanied us, the savages soon plucked 
up courage and returned to the shore, the men placing 
bunches of leaves in their armlets, and the women cast- 
ing handfuls of sand into the air or flinging clouds of 
powdered chalk out of hollow bamboos, in order to make 
clear their peaceful intentions. Grounding the boat 
opposite the most important cluster of huts where the 
natives were collecting in large numbers, the Gurkha 
Havildar, Mehesur Singh, and I stepped ashore and were 
escorted to a shelter of leaves beneath which the head- 
meil had already assembled to greet the stranger. Here, 
after much solemn handshaking, I distributed amongst 
the NATUS (the head of each family) some tobacco, 
and in return received a native cigarette made with 
great care by the oldest man present ; the ice having 
been broken by means of these courtesies, an animated 
conversation was begun, the Papuans imparting what 
news they thought I desired, and I doing my best to 
make out what was said, both sides thoroughly enjoy- 
ing themselves, and filling up an amusing half-hour. 
Question them as I would, little of value was learnt 
beyond the reiterated statement that there was no way 
eastwards except by the sea route, and that nothing was 
to be gained by moving further up the river Kaiqua, or 
entering any of the creeks close at hand. The cigar- 
ettes finished, I was shown round the village, accom- 
panied by all the men and half the children, and sundry 
uncommonly friendly pigs. This inspection over, our 
next care was to find a camping ground. Though the 
natives wanted us to stay in their midst, we did not relish 
the proximity of the overcrowded village and, having 
already seen a secluded and sheltered spot on the opposite 
side of the bay, I declined their well-meant invitation. 

174 



AN INUNDATED VILLAGE 

A large fleet of canoes escorted the Dreadnought to 
her new moorings, and many willing hands made light 
of the work of clearing the ground on which we were 
to camp, and assisted to set up the tents. It was indeed 
fortunate, as it turned out, that we had this sheltered 
site, for had we stayed in the village we should have 
suffered as much if not more than many of the unlucky 
natives did that afternoon. Assisted by a strong south 
wind, the tide rose to such a height that the waves 
poured over the sandy spit on which the huts had 
been built, demolished many of the walls, and carried 
the sandy floors into the creek beyond. Most of the 
upright poles even were washed out of the ground, and 
with them fell the roofs. The wretched people took 
refuge in their canoes, but were compelled to stand by 
and witness the havoc wrought on their homes, the 
surrounding country being one vast mangrove swamp 
without a foot of land being visible at high water. 
Such events must be of common occurrence, and 
as on this occasion there was nothing more than a 
strong breeze, when a southerly storm bursts I cannot 
understand how any vestige of the village can remain 
standing. The natives of Nime do not follow the 
fashion of most other coast tribes in New Guinea, who 
erect their habitations on piles, but why this is so we 
could not discover. I believe I am right in saying that 
in no other place along the entire coast is it the custom 
to construct huts close to the ground ; sometimes they 
are built on piles and sometimes in trees, but always in 
a position safe from inundations. 

Whilst watching the inrush of water through the 
narrow entrance to the bay, a small urchin, splashing 
about with many others, was carried off his legs, and 
before any of the other boys could help him, was whirled 

175 



A TIMELY RESCUE 

out into the race. The alarm was given in a moment, 
A crowd of women raced down the beach and tried to 
intercept him by forming a string of hands, but he was 
swept past them in a moment and out into the midst 
of the tumbling waters. Like all coast Papuans he was 
a fine swimmer, but struggle as he would, he could do 
nothing against the current, his one thought being to 
keep himself afloat. It seemed that nothing could live 
in the turmoil of seething water. One moment he 
would be seen to spin round and round, the next to 
vanish, and after a pause to come to the surface again 
like a cork, until it appeared a marvel how any breath 
could be left in the small body. Each time he vanished 
I thought he was done for, but the little black head kept 
bobbing up, to be followed by an arm raised appealingly 
for assistance. No one on our side of the bay could do 
anything to save him, as the canoes had all been berthed 
in the creek behind ; help, however, was at hand. 

From behind the village a boat shot out, driven like 
an arrow over the waters, a brawny hand seized the 
woolly pate, and an inert mass was dragged over the 
side and out of danger. A crowd of women at once 
carried him to his home, where he must have been well 
looked after, for when presented to me on the following 
day, he had quite recovered, and appeared much pleased 
with his adventure. Had he been a girl, I doubt if they 
would have taken half so much trouble to save him. 

Whilst watching this incident the tide had invaded 
our tent, but as we were in a sheltered position, this 
caused little inconvenience beyond leaving the sea scum 
over the floor, a very different state of things to the 
rows of bare hut poles in the village opposite. As the 
tide fell and their anxiety as to the security of the rest 
of the village diminished, the natives visited me in 

176 



BARTER AND EXCHANGE 

hundreds, showing their hospitality and desire for 
trading by bringing forward bananas, cocoa-nuts, &c. 
Amongst the etcetera must be included the wives and 
daughters, the men being most anxious that some of 
their female belongings should stay with me; and I 
must say the damsels were in nowise backward in dis- 
playing their charms and graces. They showed such 
evident signs of disappointment at my refusal that had 
I been tempted to live long amongst them, it would 
have been difficult to resist a feeling of vanity. The 
prices demanded were not exorbitant, and as no 
business was doing, gradually dropped from a hand- 
kerchief to a few beads. Darkness fell at last, and I 
was left in peace. 

The next morning the village was fully explored, 
and a few odds and ends purchased. Papuans take a 
great pride in escorting a visitor round their village, 
and point out each object they consider of interest. 
As may be imagined, a white stranger is followed 
everywhere by an interested crowd of men and boys, 
though the women as a rule content themselves with 
inquisitive peerings from the interior of the hut and 
from the doorways. They will trade away anything, 
and one's approach is the signal for the whole of their 
worldly goods to be slipped outside the hut, on the 
chance that some article may catch the stranger's eye 
and a sale be effected. Clubs are stuck into the ground, 
spears leant against the roof, and bows and arrows, sago 
dishes, and even human skulls laid out, so as to show to 
the best possible advantage. After dusk is the usual 
time for clandestine trading, the approach of the seller 
being heralded by the customary deprecating cough. 
At Nim the adoption of this time for doing trade 
appears to be due to the fact that many of the natives 

177 M 



CLUBS 

are either not allowed to sell at all, or object to be seen 
bargaining in the face of the whole community. What 
we were then most eager to purchase were stone clubs, 
weapons which do not deteriorate with keeping, as 
happens so often when other native articles are bought 
and put away for a few months in a damp hut. 

Some rough kind of club was probably man's earliest 
weapon, at first formed entirely of wood, to which later 
on a stone head was fitted. Both kinds are used here, 
but of the two the one made with the stone head is far 
and away the most popular. The head may be of coral, 
limestone, or sandstone, of a necessity brought from 
great distances, as no stone of any description is to be 
met with away from the mountains to the north. It 
is with these barbaric instruments that quarrels are 
settled, whether for wife-beating or for repelling the 
attack of hostile tribes. Either as an outlet for their 
ingenuity or to make the weapon more effective, the 
large majority of the stone heads are carved so as to 
leave projecting points or ridges, and when in the hands 
of a powerful savage are engines of destruction by no 
means to be despised. The heads alone weigh anything 
between 4 and 8 pounds, and must take weeks to com- 
plete. The iron imported by the expedition came as a 
godsend to the manufacturers of these weapons, and it 
was not long before the Papuans saw one of our steel 
files in use and begged the loan of it for a short time. 
The result was a weirdly-fashioned club-head and a 
worn-out file. Further borrowings were discouraged, 
and they had to fall back upon any scrap of iron or old 
meat tins they could pick up around the camp. To 
show how little they knew of the properties of iron and 
steel, we saw a man one day trying to break a stone 
with a good butcher's knife he had just earned by much 

178 




FORCING THE CANOES PAST THE TIMBER BLOCKS ox THE MIMIKA 

These dams are to be found every few hundred yards from its source to within ten miles of the s 




A PARTY OF PAPUAN'S TRAVELLING FAST ON THE KATQUA RIVER 

With five or six men paddling, the canoes can be driven through the water as fast as or even 
faster than the launch. 



STRATEGY 

labour, and it was quite a common sight to see a carving 
knife so chipped as to be nearly useless even on the first 
day it had come into the possession of its owner. Now 
that we have left their country they probably appreciate 
the value of the metal, but it is unlikely that they will 
get any more for many years to come. 

The next day a short journey up the Kaiqua River 
confirmed the statement of the natives that it was use- 
less as a route to the east. The river was but a large 
jungle creek. With the crowd of canoes which hemmed 
us in on every side fast progress was out of the question, 
and the farther we got from Nim the less we liked 
the behaviour of our escort. They became familiar and 
noisy, jostling their canoes into ours, one or two of the 
savages even trying to get on board. As there were but 
five of us, three of whom were unarmed coolies, and as 
nothing would have been easier than to upset the canoe, 
in which case our weapons would have been useless, we 
decided to return without giving warning of our inten- 
tion. Waving the natives aside for an instant, the 
boat was quickly turned, and before they knew what we 
were after, was heading down-stream. I am not sure 
whether these people really had any hostile intentions 
or not, but the shout that went up at this action of ours 
lent colour to the supposition. For a few moments they 
were nonplussed at this unexpected move, and then, 
either seeing that we were suspicious or that we had 
some other plan in view, they paddled away for Nime 
as fast as they could drive their craft through the water, 
and thus it happened that on the return journey we 
were deserted. We knew, and probably the natives did 
likewise, that had disaster, either through accident or 
foul play, overtaken us during any of these side expedi- 
tions, no one in the world would ever have been any the 

179 



SECOND TRIP UP THE KAIQUA 

wiser. At any rate, when one has received a warning, 
it is better to be wise before than after the event, and if 
nothing of importance is to be gained by proceeding, 
then why run an unnecessary risk ? We again spent the 
night in* the village of Xime, and I will say this much for 
the men, that their behaviour was otherwise exemplary. 

Later in the year a second trip was made up the 
Kaiqua, when it was found that the river, though pos- 
sessing a splendid mouth, soon narrowed and became 
an ordinary tidal creek. For twelve miles it was just 
navigable for a small launch, and proved to be the high- 
way to a small and flourishing village of the same name. 
Not that it was inhabited at the time of our second 
journey ; there were, however, so many evidences of its 
being occupied during a considerable period of the year, 
and such large areas of cocoa-nut and banana plantations 
lay close around, that there w r as no doubt in our minds 
that it must have developed at certain seasons of the 
year into quite a populous place. On this second trip 
two natives of Nime w r ere taken as guides, and as they 
showed no objection whatever to our going where we 
liked, the desire to keep their inland village a secret 
could not have been the reason for their peculiar be- 
haviour during the first attempt to advance up the river. 

When about to leave the country for good we found 
out that their positive declarations as to there being no 
creek running to the east were false ; a passage navigable 
for canoes lies behind a low flat island near Nime, and 
the natives frequently make use of it in order to reach 
the Timoura River, by this means avoiding the sea 
route. This channel was kept from our knowledge, for 
the simple reason that they did not desire us to move 
in that direction, as they feared to lose the monopoly of 
our trade goods which they at present enjoyed. 

180 



CHAPTER XIII 

Coast and up-river natives The headman of Nime' A dignified character 
Native curiosity Photographs and pictures Native drawings 
Novelty and amusement Scenery on the Atoeka An albino Buy- 
ing a motor launch Collapse of a village A miserable experience 
Bailey's comet An enjoyable change 

"VTOT only in habits and manners but also in build, 
-Lli and to a lesser extent in colour, there is a 
noticeable difference between the coast people of Nime 
and those of Parimau the former typical representa- 
tives of the coast tribes, the latter of the up-river 
natives ; this in spite of the fact that but thirty to 
thirty-five miles separate the villages, and that the alti- 
tude is practically the same. Along the coast the skin 
is almost invariably of a dull black colour the lead 
black of the stove without the shine, as it has been 
described whilst amongst the natives living at the 
head waters of the rivers it is of a distinctly lighter 
shade, more of a deep chocolate. The coast men, 
though of immense strength, with bull-like necks, and 
chests and arms of herculean mould, cannot compare 
with the Parimau men for symmetry of build, activity, 
or grace of carriage. Both physically and mentally 
they appear to conform to a lower type, and, with 
few exceptions, are brutish in face and figure. The 
women are horrible, except when young, and even then 
cannot be described as prepossessing, and it is hard to 
see how either the Dutch or the missionaries can hope 
materially to raise this race from their present depth 
of degradation. Low as they may be, they are by no 

181 



THE HEADMAN OF 

means on the bottom rung of the ladder, for the tribes 
living farther to the east are of a still more depraved 
type, and so savage that it is impossible to get on 
intimate terms, or, in many districts, to approach near 
enough even to converse. 

Now and again one comes across a distinctly 
superior type of man, as it were an oasis in the desert 
of savagery, all the more noticeable by comparison 
with the people amongst whom they live. Such a 
one was the headman of Nim, the same who had 
been taken aboard the Wias on our first arrival in the 
country. Of perfect proportions, with an intelligent 
and pleasing countenance, a word of his carried more 
authority than was the case with any other man along 
the coast. He adopted the outer signs of civilisation 
with as much ease as a sponge absorbs water, and com- 
ported himself with such decorum that he was allowed 
the free run of the base camp, and was never known 
to abuse the privilege. His dignity was enhanced, so 
he thought, by the adoption of a straw hat, a torn 
khaki coat, a pair of worn-out trousers, and an old 
pair of shoes three or four sizes too small, and unless 
adorned with these dilapidated articles he rarely 
approached our huts. Yet even when so disfigured, 
he still retained a more imposing manner than could 
be assumed by any of our half civilised coolies from 
Amboina and Macassar. He would arrive unobtru- 
sively and sit down until we were disengaged, then 
advance with a dignified step, raise his hat, and shake 
hands. When the time came for him to take his 
departure, he would again shake hands, place his right 
hand over his heart, and retire to his canoe, there to 
remove all vestige of clothing and become once more 
the Papuan pure and simple. 

182 



r 




A HEADMAN 

The headman of the coast town of Nime, and a good friend to the expedition. Behind is 
Lieut. Cramer's house made of matting imported from Java. 



NATIVE CURIOSITY 

His elder wife, the one with the highly-tattooed 
back, occasionally used to pay a visit to the Malay 
wife of the Dutch quartermaster, on which occasions 
she would appear in a skirt of red trade cloth. Not 
a word did either know of the other's language, but 
this did not matter, as they were quite content to stare 
at each other, without speaking, for hours at a time. 
The chief's younger wife was not permitted to take 
part in these jaunts, possibly because she was by far 
the best-looking girl in the district, and the more she 
was kept in seclusion the better it was for the husband. 
The Major (as this headman was called by the Dutch) 
and his wife were born traders, and when business was 
slack would wander round the camp begging with 
an insinuating smile for any article which took their 
fancy. Nothing came amiss tins, bottles, paper, old 
rags and boots, all would have some value sooner or 
later, and so were added to the piles of rubbish which 
encumbered the floors of their huts. His own canoes 
he would never part with under the price of two axes, 
but if we wanted any belonging to another man he 
would get them for us for an axe-head apiece and a 
small present for himself. 

Our visit to Nime brought another fact home to 
us, namely, that if privacy is desired, it is unwise 
to camp in the close proximity of a village. One's 
every movement is followed by an expectant and ever- 
watchful crowd, and the people will follow one into 
the jungle or peep under the flies of the tent rather 
than lose sight of you for an instant. Some will smoke 
on in silence, others will make sotto voce remarks about 
whatever may strike them as out of the common, but 
never for a single instant are those dozens of pairs of 
eyes moved one inch away. Whichever way you may 

183 



PHOTOGRAPHS AND PICTURES 

look you will find eyes riveted upon your face, until 
tired of the ceaseless scrutiny you invent something 
to distract their attention. 

For this purpose the photographs proved a never- 
failing source of amusement and interest, and though 
only of quarter-plate size, were examined with shouts 
of joy. Portraits were at once recognised, those of the 
pygmies being received with jeers, and those of the 
up-river men when shown to the coast people, or vice 
versa, with scowls and mutterings of disapproval. The 
subject of a photograph, if present, usually assumed a 
sickly grin and would refuse to look. Pictures from 
Country Life and other illustrated papers were sub- 
jected to the minutest examination; and, as may be 
imagined, photographs of such things as horses and 
cows caused much perplexity. Every animal had to 
come under the category of dog, pig, wallaby or 
cuseus, for it must be remembered that, with the 
exception of these four beasts, the Papuans knew of 
no animal greater than a rat. One could not help 
laughing when the Derby winner was described as a 
pig, or when some of them placed a Highland bull in 
the same species as a cuscus, whilst others maintained 
it was a dog. The kind of picture they thoroughly 
disliked and feared were those of the genre of Caton 
Woodville. Such for instance as a furious white man 
armed with a spear riding a foam-flecked charger with 
staring eyeballs and steam issuing from his nostrils, 
and bearing down at full speed upon the spectator, 
proved more than they could stand. With these 
pictorial horrors of the outer world they would have 
nothing to do, refusing even to touch the paper upon 
which they were printed. 

The crowning joy, however, was supplied by the 

184 



NATIVE DRAWINGS 

portraits of peeresses, actresses, and the famous beauties 
of England. The Ah! all's of astonishment were 
accompanied by thumpings of the chest and other ex- 
pressions of surprise and joy. I hope these ladies will 
not take it amiss that Marshall and I claimed them all 
as our wives. The savages themselves first put the idea 
into our heads, and as it was obvious the mere sugges- 
tion had caused us to rise immensely in their estimation, 
we were shameless enough to fall in with their views 
and to claim the lot. We divided them equally between 
us, now and again awarding one to Wollaston (who was 
absent), and naturally giving him the ones we admired 
least. 

The examination of these photographs led to an 
exhibition of native draughtsmanship which, however 
interesting in itself, was not characterised by much 
skill, the pictures being rarely equal to w r hat could be 
produced by an English child four or five years of age. 
These drawing competitions usually took place at 
Parimau, where, seated cross-legged on the floor the 
natives w r ould remain for hours absorbed in their work, 
though, as Shortridge learnt later on, this industry was 
in part assumed in order that they might, sooner or 
later, obtain an opportunity of pilfering his skinning 
tools \vhen his back was turned. The objects which 
they generally chose to illustrate were naturally those 
with which they were most familiar, such as men and 
women, dogs, birds and fish. The eyes of the human 
beings were made large and round, the feet and hands 
of immense size, each toe and finger being well separated 
from its neighbour and drawn quite irrespective of the 
correct number. As long as these points were well 
marked and the position of the armlets and knee-bands 
satisfactorily settled, other details of the body were 

185 



NOVELTY AND AMUSEMENT 

considered of little importance. One could distinguish 
in a moment what bird they were trying to draw, 
whether hornbill, parrot, or crown pigeon, as they at 
once picked out its particular characteristic and drew 
the remainder of the bird around it. All four-footed 
animals looked alike in their pictures though, curiously 
enough, both birds and fish were often drawn upside 
down. The reason for this we were quite unable to 
fathom, as otherwise the men showed no signs of 
astigmatism. 

The works of a watch aroused much interest, but as 
the thing was evidently alive, they did not consider that 
there was anything very curious about its making a 
noise. Likewise with the mechanical pig; all pigs 
walked, so why should not this one ? Now a Teddy- 
bear is different; this was an entirely new form of 
animal, and of such alarming appearance that, with 
bulging eyes and every sign of outward terror, the 
burly throng recoiled several paces at the sight. An 
aluminium basin ! Splendid ! Was there anything like 
it in the world ? This must be passed round, weighed 
and minutely examined ; balanced and patted, and again 
weighed : it was a never-ending joy. A nasty thing a 
pistol! it bored holes in trees, but shot no birds or 
other food, and was therefore soon rejected. A gun was 
quite different ; it certainly made a horrid noise till you 
got used to it, but had the compensatory advantage 
that it killed pigs and birds. 

And so the game went on, full of novelty for them 
and amusement for us. One day I tried them with 
piccalilli pickles, a form of food that was highly dis- 
approved of; mustard was put in the same category, 
and curiously enough so was salt, a commodity so 
highly prized in other parts of New Guinea that the 

186 



NOVELTY AND AMUSEMENT 

natives will accept a teaspoonful as a day's payment for 
carrying a load. The Mimika Papuan has so great an 
aversion to salt in any form that, even when hungry, 
and though it is offered as a present, he will refuse to 
partake of salt fish. Tea was greatly appreciated ; but, 
judging from their first and only experience, it may 
safely be said that the natives will never take kindly to 
whisky. At his own request I once gave a brawny 
savage a tablespoonful of this latter beverage, his friends, 
as was invariably the case when experimenting with 
food, standing by to watch the effect. He was told to 
drink it straight down and not to sip it, and as his 
mouth closed on the last drop his body became rigid, 
and then appeared to swell, his eyes started from his 
head, and with a slow and desperate air he grasped his 
throat with a vice-like grip. " Ah ! Ah ! " burst from the 
lips of the spectators absorbed in the tragedy being 
enacted before their eyes. To the uninitiated I can 
well believe the performance proved a thrilling spectacle, 
for as gasp followed gasp in rapid succession, tears 
welled up to his eyes, his hands travelled from his 
throat to his abdomen, while the look of terror on his 
face grew in intensity. He departed a sadder but a 
wiser man, thankful that the fell poison had not claimed 
him as a victim. 

Altogether they caused us infinite amusement when 
not too talkative, but when they once became loquacious 
the assembly had to be dissolved, for much talk, like 
wine with some Europeans, caused them to become 
familiar and bothersome. 

On the 18th May, having accomplished all that was 
possible at Nime, we returned to the Mimika mouth, 
and as there was no immediate necessity for us to arrive 
at Wakatimi, struck off to the west at the junction of 

187 



SCENERY ON THE ATOEKA 

the Atoeka and Mimika Rivers, and followed for a few 
miles the stream traversed by Wollaston, Cramer, and 
Marshall six weeks before. At a distance of three 
miles we entered the Atoeka proper, and with the men 
paddling hard covered another eight miles. The forest 
here was of an entirely different description to anything 
I had previously seen, for though the vegetation was 
similar, yet the number of dead trees and the quantity 
of cocoa-nut and tobacco plantations gave an open and 
airy appearance to the whole. It seemed, however, to 
be an unpopular spot, for neither a hut nor a native was 
to be seen. The river began to narrow considerably, 
and as it had the appearance of an ordinary jungle-fed 
stream, we decided to camp for the night and to con- 
tinue the journey on the following day, solely for the 
purpose of adding to the map. At this moment three 
canoes filled with paddlers from Obota overtook us, all 
full of vociferous talk and questions as to why we had 
passed by their village and entered this useless and un- 
inhabited river. If we would only return and sleep at 
their village, they would give us bananas, cocoa-nuts and 
tobacco, as much as we required, and in addition would 
paddle the canoe. So back again we went, thoroughly 
appreciating the novelty of being driven rapidly through 
the water without any exertion on our part. Turning 
at the junction of the rivers, we were soon in a narrow 
channel through which raced the muddy waters of the 
Kapare. Passing between rows of huts lining both 
banks of the river and accompanied by a crowd of 
women and children, we drew up opposite an island 
cleared of trees, and there pitched camp. 

The men were as good as their word in bringing 
fruit and tobacco, though, instead of offering them as 
gifts, they demanded exorbitant prices. The supply 

188 



AN ALBINO 

being immense and the demand limited, there was soon 
a regular slump and the canoe was half filled with fruit 
by the expenditure on our part of a few hankerchiefs 
and a handful of beads. 

It proved to be a delightful spot. Acres of land 
were thickly planted with bananas, over which rose an 
occasional cocoa-nut tree, whilst up stream were nume- 
rous tobacco plantations. 

As the people were most anxious to show off the 
advantages of their village as a place of residence, I 
took the opportunity of thoroughly exploring their 
homes and household goods, all of which were displayed 
to the best advantage in the obvious hope that they 
would appeal to us and lead to the clinching of a bargain. 
The weapons and utensils were of the usual kind, added 
to which there were dozens of human skulls grinning 
from every doorway, things which at this period of the 
expedition were not really required. Nevertheless 
something had to be bought, if only for charity's sake, 
for it was pitiable to watch the looks of disappointment 
as the most cherished goods were passed by almost 
unnoticed. One article caught my eye, a thing one 
would least expect to find in this out-of-the-way place, 
a large Chinese jar of considerable age, but upon the 
value of which small store was set. It had been in pos- 
session of the village for many years, so I was informed, 
and had originally been brought over by the natives of 
the Kei Islands, with which place these people seem to 
be acquainted. I understand that the Kei Islanders do 
occasionally visit these shores, which may account for 
the various pieces of scrap iron found scattered through- 
out the district. 

It was at this village that the first albino, a pink 
baby, was seen, though the parents were coal black. 

189 



BUYING A MOTOR LAUNCH 

Its skin was entirely free from the unsightly blotches 
which formed so conspicuous a feature in the two other 
albinos of the district whom we saw later on ; it might 
have been taken for an European child but for the very 
pale colour of its grey eyes. 

The people were most averse to our departing for 
Wakatimi on the following day, and with their arms 
full of sago dishes, spears, skulls, &c. stood on the bank 
attempting to drive one last bargain, until we were lost 
to sight round the bend. 

Six days later, that is to say during the last week in 
May, a fresh attempt was made to discover the passage 
to the east ; fate again ruled, however, that the Wania 
should never be reached this way, as on our arrival at 
the mouth of the Mimika there, two miles from the 
shore, lay the relief ship Zwaan> and approaching the 
harbour was her launch. I went on board, and whilst 
the stores were being transferred to land enjoyed a 
most excellent lunch with Commander Rothmeyer. 

We were aware that the pearl-fishers at Dobo pos- 
sessed two or three motor boats, and as the steam- 
launch lent us by the Dutch authorities had completely 
broken down, and Commander Rothmeyer being willing 
to take us over to Dobo, we determined to seize the 
opportunity and try to persuade the pearl-fishers to sell 
us one of these boats. By hastening the embarkation 
as much as possible the invalids, thirty-seven in num- 
ber, were on board by daybreak the following morn- 
ing and, together with Goodfellow and Shortridge 
the latter of whom had been suffering from fever since 
March, and was to go to Australia for three months to 
recuperate we sailed for Dobo. 

How splendid it was to be at sea again, and to 
breathe the bracing air after the fetid and malaria-laden 

190 



COLLAPSE OF A VILLAGE 

mist of the jungle ! Hotels are unknown in Dobo, but 
they are not required owing to the presence of those 
hospitable Australians, the Clark brothers, Ross-Smith, 
and Jessop, and others of the Anglo-Saxon race who 
have created a valuable and flourishing industry in this 
desolate possession of the Dutch. With them we stayed 
a week, and whilst waiting for the return of the Zwaan 
purchased a ten horse-power motor boat, built of the 
strongest timbers and fit, so we thought, to withstand 
the hard usage with which it would meet. 

We returned to New Guinea on the 6th June, to 
experience anything but a pleasant landing, for the 
south-east monsoon had broken, and wild surf was 
beating on the bar. During our short absence eight 
more men had fallen seriously ill. They were immedi- 
ately transferred to the steamer, and with the departure 
of theZwaa?i all connection with civilisation was severed 
for many months. 

As an additional impediment to progress, both the 
Mimika and Obota rivers were found to be in full 
flood. Trees, and often whole islands of vegetation, 
were rushing down the stream, jostling each other in a 
confused mass as the surging torrent swept onwards 
to the sea. Though the land close to the coast was 
under water, we little anticipated the unpleasant expe- 
riences which we were to undergo at Wakatimi. 

Already the surrounding country was inundated, 
leaving the camp and native village as islands in the 
midst of a vast timbered swamp ; the former preserved 
for the moment by the dykes which had been thrown 
up, and the latter by the accumulations of years of 
household refuse. Slowly but surely the rise continued, 
the drains filled and overflowed, and finally when the 
retaining banks burst, the waters swept through the 

191 



COLLAPSE OF A VILLAGE 

camp. Faster and faster rose the river, causing 
additional havoc every instant as it poured across the 
peninsula in an irresistible rush for the sea. The 
native village of Tourapaya, situated just to the north 
of the camp, received the full force of the flood and 
collapsed like a pack of cards. The inhabitants com- 
pletely lost their heads, and with loud cries and much 
lamentation seized the more precious of their goods, 
flung them into the canoes and paddled frantically 
away. After five minutes they came back again for 
one last look, and then away they went and vanished 
for good, whither I cannot say. We were too busy 
ourselves to pay much attention to what happened to 
others, as all our efforts were concentrated in the 
attempt to save our own precious goods, by piling box 
upon box and case upon case. As luck would have it, 
we had many stores and few men, and consequently 
tons of valuable food-stuffs were ruined. Rice, beans, 
dried meat, fish, trade goods, blankets, and other price- 
less and irreplaceable articles slowly disappeared from 
view, as the waters lapped over one box after the 
other, completely destroying the contents. The floods 
in Paris at the beginning of the year were bad enough, 
but there the victims had upper stories to which their 
more valuable goods could be removed for safety. We 
unfortunately had no such place of refuge, and could 
do little but wade around and protect the more perish- 
able articles, and raise our camp bedsteads higher and 
higher. For three days and three nights did the scene 
of havoc and discomfort last, though our own particular 
hut, owing to its being on ground slightly higher than 
the rest, had never more than 2J feet of water over the 
floor. So deep was the flood in places that parts of 
the camp were unapproachable, and the hospital was 

192 



A MISERABLE EXPERIENCE 

completely isolated. It was perfectly miserable to have 
to sit in the hut, with one's legs dangling in the 
water, and watch every small article which could float 
appear at one door, swish across the room and pass out 
of the other, to join the vegetation sweeping down the 
river. Basins, bowls, shoes, bottles, tins, all and sundry 
joined in the race. Insects and all manner of creeping 
things, driven from their dark corners and hidden re- 
cesses, swarmed up the poles and walls, whilst along 
the beams overhead scurried numerous families of rats, 
caught in a trap from which there was no escape. 

The whole country from the mountains to the sea 
was under water, and so widespread was the flood that 
the coolies, returning from higher up stream, instead 
of as usual halting for the night at one of the regular 
camping places situated at intervals along the forty- 
seven miles of river, unable to find a vestige of ground 
upon which to pitch their tents, were compelled to 
come through without a break. To their great surprise, 
for they anticipated that Wakatimi at least would be 
comparatively dry, they sailed straight across the penin- 
sula in the dark, over the football ground, and through 
the doorway of their own sleeping house, where for the 
first time for fifteen hours they were able to leave their 
boat. 

The whole affair was a most miserable experience, 
and shows how hopeless it is to expect to make any- 
thing much out of this country. This was the worst 
visitation we had, but by no means the last. 

Through it all and this will tell my readers the 
month and the year Halley's comet flamed in the 
skies. At no place in the world was a finer view to 
be obtained than from where we were, and in the early 
mornings when the sky was clear of cloud and the 

193 N 



HALLEY'S COMET 

flaming tail stretched from the horizon to the zenith 
and even beyond, the effect was truly gorgeous. It 
could not have remained unnoticed by the natives of 
Wakatimi, for nothing escapes their sharp eyes, but 
whatever they may have thought of the coming of this 
celestial wonder, they gave no sign of surprise or alarm. 
What must have terrified most savage races passed 
without a comment and left them cold. 

On the fourth day the waters commenced to subside 
and fell steadily; work was soon recommenced, and 
the putrid fish and evil-smelling rice cast for ever into 
the river. 

The Mimika itself continued in full flood, but 
instead of being an obstacle to the upward passage of 
the canoes, the depth of water now gave us a splendid 
opportunity to test the new motor boat, and to see 
how she would behave with six laden canoes astern. 
The canoes were lashed together in threes, split bam- 
boos keeping them rigid. On these rafts, well laden 
with what had escaped the flood, the coolies lounged 
in comfort, appreciating, if ever anyone did, the ad- 
vantages of mechanical over manual labour. How I 
too enjoyed the change ! Instead of being boxed up 
for hour after hour in a space 18 inches by 36 inches, and 
having to strain away at the paddles and making hardly 
an inch of progress, to sit back in a roomy boat, watching 
mile after mile of the banks slip by, was luxury indeed ; 
whilst to know that large quantities of stores were 
being brought on, to think of the amount of labour 
saved to the men and consequently strength gained 
against disease, and all the time to listen to the steady 
thud thud of the engine, was to me the acme of 
pleasure. The horrid toil with the paddle, we fondly 
thought, was ended for ever, and little did we imagine 

194 



AN ENJOYABLE CHANGE 

that two more trips up the river were all that the 
motor boat was fated to do. But that is another story, 
and can wait for the present. 

On the first day of this journey we covered three 
canoe stages, on the second two, and early on the 
morning of the third reached Parimau, all well. How 
different to the former six days of incessant toil and 
the heavy roll of invalids who used to find their way to 
hospital after such a journey in canoes. 



195 



CHAPTER XIV 

Up the Wataikwa A stampede of carriers A toilsome retreat Vicarious 
punishment Disappointing behaviour New Guinea fliesThe wet 
season Crossing the Kamura The hidden baggage Difficult survey- 
ingAlternative plans The course of the Wataikwa Pleasant specu- 
lationsA precarious position Cutting through the forest Hampered 
work A turbulent stream Hewing and cutting Dense vegetation- 
Dreary work 

MARSHALL, tired of awaiting our return, had 
already left on an exploration of his own, taking 
with him some Gurkhas and natives with provisions to 
last three days. The party was lightly equipped, in 
order rapidly to traverse the jungle beyond the Kamura 
and carry on for at least another two marches beyond 
the point where he and Shortridge had camped two 
weeks previously. After spending the night at the 
village of Ibo, where a canoe was borrowed from the 
inhabitants to transport the baggage to the old camp at 
the junction of the Puria, the boat was tied up and the 
journey continued on foot. Having followed a branch 
stream for a few hours, they emerged on to the banks 
of the Wataikwa, a river which was found to have a 
volume of water larger than any previously seen, 

As a crossing was impossible by reason of the floods, 
they then turned due north, and followed the bed of the 
river for several miles into the mountains. So far every- 
thing had gone well, but as a flood threatened and food 
showed signs of running short, they decided to push on 
no farther, but instead, to retire as rapidly as possible 
and equip a fresh party to carry on the exploration well 

196 



A TOILSOME RETREAT 

into the mountains. The Papuan carriers seemed happy 
and in the highest spirits at being able to return so 
soon, and were delighted at the ample supplies of meat 
obtained from a cassowary which had been shot during 
the march. 

The camp was early astir and the loads packed and 
distributed, when there took place one of those un- 
accountable actions on the part of the native carriers 
which rendered any distant travel out of the question, 
unless some of our own imported coolies were of the 
party. Without a word of warning or a sign of discon- 
tent, the Papuan carriers walked unconcernedly into the 
jungle and vanished. At first it was thought that their 
absence was but temporary, but a thorough search 
proved beyond a doubt that they had gone for good. 

Marshall and his Gurkhas were now in a parlous 
state ; four long marches from home, one day's rations 
in hand, and eight indispensable loads to be earned to 
Parimau. No time was to be lost every hour wasted 
added to their difficulties. Each man took a double 
load, and thus burdened they set forth on the return 
journey through the forest, over the hill, and along the 
flooded river. Between three and four miles were 
covered that day, and with weary limbs and aching 
shoulders they camped for the night on the bank of the 
Wataikwa, at a spot where an overflow of the river 
forms the source of the Kamura, and where some weeks 
later a permanent camp was to be formed. 

At daybreak they were once more on the move, and 
by untiring perseverance carried everything to the spot 
where the canoe had been left four days previous. Here 
fate dealt them another blow the boat was gone ! no 
doubt carried off by the Papuans during their retreat. 
This loss forced them to change their plans, for, laden 

197 



VICARIOUS PUNISHMENT 

as they were, without some assistance it would be im- 
possible to reach Parimau before the food-supplies were 
completely exhausted. Consequently everything not 
absolutely required was cached in the jungle and well 
hidden beneath branches of trees, since the eyes of the 
natives are sharp, and a hunting party would be certain 
to search the site of a recently abandoned camp. 

With loads reduced to thirty or forty pounds in 
weight, Marshall and his men stepped out manfully, 
and with such good effect that by midday they were 
within a mile of the village of Ibo. The savages of this 
place, evidently cognisant of the desertion, turned out 
in force, and by demonstrative signs of sorrow and grief 
sympathised with the travellers, at the same time vow- 
ing vengeance upon the deserters. Though not directly 
implicated, they were of the same tribe, and were there- 
fore partly responsible ; but as corporal punishment 
could hardly have been given for acts they had not 
themselves committed, they were made to carry the 
loads without payment, a form of justice they appreci- 
ated, if only because such a thing had never happened 
before. In the end the deserters likewise escaped 
chastisement, but in its place the information was 
imparted to them that they would in future be re- 
fused the run of the camp, that they would never 
be employed on any manual labour whatever while 
we were in the country, and that no fruit, canoes, 
paddles, &c. would ever be bought from them again. 

Later in the year some of these men, anxious to dis- 
pose of their canoes and paddles, persuaded their friends 
to sell them as their own ; but as from our camp every- 
thing being made in the village could be seen, we knew 
exactly to whom they belonged, and thus were able to 
defeat the plan. It was quite amusing to watch the real 

198 



DISAPPOINTING BEHAVIOUR 

owner in the far distance peeping round the corner of his 
hut to see how the scheme worked. 

The behaviour of the natives on this last expedition 
was most disappointing, as they, to all outward appear- 
ance, had been perfectly contented with their loads, 
food, and promised rewards. It was obvious that for the 
future they could only be looked upon as supplementary 
to our transport force, more especially when working 
within a few days' march of Parimau. 

The enforced delay was not wasted. For Marshall 
and the Gurkhas a rest was imperative, and much food- 
stuff, lately imported and thoroughly soaked by the 
rain, had to be dried whenever an opportunity occurred 
in order to prevent its complete putrefaction. More 
huts were built, landing steps constructed, paths laid 
out, the camp drained, and a hundred other things 
done necessary for the maintenance of health. The 
Parimau camp had by this time assumed the propor- 
tions of a village of imposing dimensions, the upper half 
being British, the southern half Dutch, the two together 
extending for two hundred yards along the banks of the 
river, and for eighty to one hundred yards into the 
jungle. To provide space for these buildings more and 
more forest was cleared, and with the disappearance of 
the timber the mosquitoes vanished almost entirely from 
the area enclosed by the boundary fence. On the other 
hand, the blue-bottles increased and multiplied until 
life became almost unbearable. They were simply 
dreadful, and their persistent lust for laying eggs in our 
food and clothes nearly drove us mad. The Egyptians 
could never have been so plagued as we were, for if such 
had been the case every Jew would have been massacred 
at once. Of all pests, New Guinea flies are the worst. 
Shortly after Marshall's return from his unpleasant 

199 



THE WET SEASON 

journey, Goodfellow and Wollaston arrived from below, 
the former already beginning to feel the effects of the 
fever, which had by this time laid a firm hold of him. 

As a few coolies could be spared from the transport 
work on the river, and as nothing was to be gained by 
all of us remaining at Parimau, it was decided that 
Marshall and I should again set forth for the Wata- 
ikwa, with the threefold object of improving the road, 
of preparing a permanent camp on that river, and of 
prospecting not only up- and down-stream, but also 
into the dense forest beyond. My departure was 
delayed for a few days by an attack of malaria, during 
which time Marshall, with thirteen of our coolies and 
a few natives, reached the Tuaba, and advancing, cut 
a new and more creditable path to the Kamura, thereby 
saving at least one day's march. 

The wet season, if such a term can be used in a 
country where it is but rarely fine, had now set in in 
earnest, and the numerous streams which beset us at 
every few yards had to be crossed by swimming or by 
fording waist-deep. Still, what are a few drenchings 
more or less during the day's march, when it is the 
exception to be dry at any time ? During our first 
year in the countiy we but rarely experienced the 
luxury of dry clothes, and yet I can safely assert, that 
not a single man in the whole force suffered from 
a cold in the head. Presumably the catarrh germ does 
not exist in the land. 

Heavens ! how it rained ! Wollaston took the 
trouble to keep an account of the wet days, and found 
that during the first year rain fell on three hundred and 
thirty days, and on two hundred and ninety-five days 
was accompanied by thunder and lightning. Was 
there ever such a streaming land? 

200 



THE HIDDEN BAGGAGE 

The passage of the Kamura afforded an exciting 
experience, and so deep was the water that I doubt 
whether our coolies could have accomplished it without 
the aid of the natives. None of our men were burdened 
with an excessive amount of clothing, but it is surpris- 
ing what a difference even the scantiest garment makes 
when battling with a strong current. A man carrying 
a load on his head or shoulders has a better chance of 
fording a rapid than one without, as the extra weight 
often prevents his legs from being swept from beneath 
him. When once across we were in a position to 
appreciate the delightful change of our surroundings. 
Broad, with a stony and sandy bed, the beautiful 
Kamura sweeps between lines of casuarina trees, behind 
which again grows the ranker vegetation of the forest, 
with its tangled mass of creepers, vines and under- 
growth. Every other large river in these parts is of 
a similar character to the Kamura, with the exception 
of the muddy, crooked, and tree-jammed Mimika, the 
most useless of all rivers as a line of communication. 

Much to the surprise of the Papuans, the baggage 
previously hidden by Marshall was dug out of the 
cache, and, to their intense disgust, piled on their backs, 
as a slight punishment for the behaviour of their 
relatives in having basely deserted him a fortnight 
before. The march was then continued to the Wata- 
ikwa, where a site for a permanant camp was chosen 
on a stony elevation; an island when the river was 
high, a peninsula when low. Great trunks of moun- 
tain trees lay around, brought down by former floods, 
and as there was no signs of the river having lately 
worked much havoc at this spot, it was considered 
a fairly safe camping-ground for years to come. It 
was, at any rate, a chance worth risking, if only that 

201 



DIFFICULT SURVEYING 

we might escape from the prison-like forest, away from 
the mosquitoes and all creeping things, and the tainted, 
fever-laden atmosphere of the jungle. H owever heavily 
it might rain, however short the food became, or what- 
ever discomforts were undergone by us on this river, 
nothing could obliterate the charms of this our best 
camp in New Guinea. 

From our own particular island, and when the 
mornings were clear, the mountains to the north were 
clearly visible. It was, however, far from easy to 
enter them correctly upon the map, as the jumble of 
low hills, which stretched inland for many miles, 
gave little indication to anyone in the plains of the lie 
of the rivers and streams, and of how the hills were 
situated with respect to one another. The Papuans, 
a few of whom were with us, had apparently no wish 
to deceive us as to the topography of these parts, but 
either their knowledge was very limited, or their replies 
were in accordance with what they thought would 
please us most, for we found that their information was 
incorrect in every case. 

Two courses lay open: either to advance up the 
bed of the Wataikwa and follow it far into the moun- 
tains, and, if this promised well, to take it as the future 
line of advance ; or, to cut a path through the forest to 
the east on the chance that another large river might 
be found, and one holding out better prospects of a 
successful attack upon the mountains in the direction 
of the snows. In either case more stores would be re- 
quired ; so keeping two Gurkhas to cook and look after 
the camp and four Papuans to carry the loads or cut 
the proposed road, the remainder were returned to 
Parimau. 

Little did we imagine at that time that this camp 

202 



THE WATAIKWA 

was to be occupied for seven months, but then neither 
did we reckon on the wet weather which was so often 
and so continuously to put a stop to the work and 
defeat every attempt to cross the river. In the same 
way it was impossible to arrange for the food, and 
particular difficulty was experienced in collecting a 
sufficient quantity to enable another advance to be 
made. The coolies, it was evident, were breaking down 
and could not be relied upon to hold out much longer 
under the present conditions ; but it was well to press 
forward, as a fresh batch would certainly arrive, so we 
believed, before the strength of the present men had 
completely failed. 

There was no necessity for keeping any coolies at 
this camp, as four Papuans had been induced to take 
up their abode with us by promises of an axe-head 
apiece, to be earned by fifteen days 5 continuous work. 
To their minds the reward was indeed great, for with it 
the owner could buy a wife, the best to be found in the 
land. 

When questioned as to the lie and source of the 
Wataikwa, they said it rose in the mountains (a very 
evident fact), that it came from the east, followed the 
line of the foothills and then, turning south, flowed past 
our present camp. As this was quite contrary to the 
flow of every other river yet met with, and because, 
though just what we would have wished, it was the 
most improbable course for it to take, we determined 
to find out for ourselves. Feeling at length that we 
really had a hold on the savages, now that they were 
working for an axe, the opportunity of investigating 
this river was too good to be lost. With sufficient 
camping equipment and supplies for four days, we set 
out up the course of the Wataikwa, keeping to the 

203 



PLEASANT SPECULATIONS 

drier portions of the bed ; we passed through a gorge, 
and making rapid progress, entered the valley originally 
seen by Marshall two weeks previously. 

To do this the river had to be crossed dozens of 
times, a by no means easy operation, with the rushing 
water up to one's armpits. It was all right if at each 
crossing we worked down stream, but the moment one 
tried to battle against the current disaster inevitably 
followed. We were now well in the hills, nearly five 
hundred feet above the sea and amidst the most beauti- 
ful surroundings, with rounded slopes clad in every 
species of tropical vegetation rising on all sides, while 
up the valley rugged mountains could be seen, too 
precipitous to scale, but still clothed wherever a shrub 
could get a hold. Black and white cockatoos whirled 
noisily overhead, and the spoor of pig, cassowary and 
wallaby were to be seen meandering in all directions. 
We were now far from the hunting grounds of the 
natives, a sanctuary for game and a place where, to the 
four-footed animals, man was unknown. 

As we sat round the camp fire that night hopes ran 
high as to what the morrow would bring forth, since if 
a cliff was found and scaled, the question as to the true 
path of the river would be quickly settled and our 
future route of advance determined one way or another. 
Pleasant indeed was it to be seated before the crackling 
logs and to speculate on the possibilities of the future. 
How delightful were those fine evenings in the depth 
of the New Guinea jungle made all the more precious 
by their rarity when the flickering light of the fires 
lit up the near branches of the enveloping jungle and 
cast shadows of inky darkness beyond, when the 
troubles of the past were forgotten, and all looked 
rosy for the days to come. 

204 



A PRECARIOUS POSITION 

A wet afternoon heralded a fine morning, and just 
as invariably vice versa, and so it proved on this 
occasion, as when we rose the rain was falling in tor- 
rents and the hills were blotted out with clouds. 
Lightly laden we set out afresh, crossing and re- 
crossing the river at every bend, more and more 
hemmed in by impassable cliffs the farther we ad- 
vanced. For two hours we kept up one continual 
struggle in sheets of rain, being ever more closely 
wedged into the river-bed until it became our only 
road. Chilled to the bone, the work was continued 
for one hour more, when a pool was reached, too deep 
to ford and impossible to circumvent. The view ahead 
was restricted to a blurred series of spurs of little value 
in themselves, but sufficient to prove that the river 
continued to the north, and was therefore of no value 
as a line of advance to the eastern goaL Turning, we 
made the best of our way back, and picking up such 
articles as had been left behind in the morning, 
struggled through to the plains. Our position in the 
mountains had been a more precarious one than was at 
that time realised, for though the retirement had been 
carried out rapidly, we were only just free when the 
river roared down in spate. Had the rise been more 
sudden, or had it come down a few hours earlier, the 
chances are that we should have been caught, and 
jammed in as we were by cliffs, would certainly have 
had to abandon the greater part of the baggage. 

Our expectations of entering far into the mountains 
had certainly not been fulfilled, and yet the journey 
had been attended with a certain measure of success, 
as it had exposed the lie of the river, and had taught us 
its uselessness as a line of advance to the snows, and 
this was really all that mattered to us then. 

205 



CUTTING THROUGH THE FOREST 

It only remained now for us to continue cutting 
eastwards through the forest, on the chance that within 
a day's march a new river might be discovered, one 
which, at the least, held out some prospect of having 
its source near the snows. The Obota, Mimika, Tuaba, 
Puria, and Wataikwa had all been tried and found 
wanting. It was fully realised that the longer we 
worked eastwards, keeping to the plains, the greater 
would become the difficulty of feeding the working 
parties as soon as they entered the mountains, with 
the resulting drawbacks of the extra strain upon the 
wretched coolies, and the increased danger of the ad- 
vanced parties being cut off from their base by the 
flooded and almost impassable rivers in rear. 

There was, however, no choice in the matter ; if we 
were to move forward this was the only possible route 
to attempt, despite the labour it entailed and the 
corresponding loss of time. 

The working parties were hampered from the 
moment of beginning the new work. The few days 
of fine weather which had been experienced on the 
way out from Parimau now gave place to rain. A 
steady drift of mist and water-laden clouds rolled up 
from the south-east, telling only too clearly that the 
monsoon had set in for good. Day after day and 
night after night the deluge continued, not the cataract 
of the thunderstorm, but a steady, persistent fall that 
seemed to have no end. Mist enveloped everything, 
the mountains completely vanished from view, and the 
river became impassable, so that all attempts to push 
forward while these conditions lasted were abandoned. 
Taking to our tent, Marshall and I did our best to keep 
our feelings under control, each endeavouring to be as 
little nuisance to the other as was possible, and from 

206 



SIMPLE LIFE EXPERIMENTS 

my point of view, a more excellent companion I never 
wish to find. The only exercise vouchsafed to us con- 
sisted of sloshy journeys undertaken into the dripping 
jungle in search of food. 

We were never burdened with an excess of clothing, 
and the more it rained the less we wore, for it meant 
the sooner we would be dry. In this warm, equable 
climate, clothes are adopted for decency and not for 
utility ; and this raises the question as to how many 
years would elapse before a European forced to live in 
this land of moisture would discard all clothing and live 
as the native. With the exception of Wollaston, who 
clung fondly to an ancient khaki covering, coats were 
discarded from the first, then shirts gave way to a vest, 
trousers to shorts, and in many cases boots and stockings, 
except when actually in the forest, were considered 
superfluous. With bare feet it is easier to keep a hold 
upon water-worn boulders than when wearing boots, 
and perpetual wetting in the former case matters not in 
the least. 

If what report says is true, a wealthy German of the 
name of Englehart, with an enthusiastic following of 
believers in the simple life, once tried the experiment of 
living in the north-east portion of New Guinea clothed 
as they were born, and sustained by the fruits of the 
forest. The result was hardly what was anticipated, 
for within a short period all, with the exception of the 
leader, had passed to another world, or had been invalided 
to their native land. It is only fair, however, to state 
that it is believed the diet of cocoa-nuts was more re- 
sponsible for the heavy mortality than the climatic con- 
ditions under which they lived. Other instances of the 
white man living the life of the savage are common. 
One, an Englishman, I am told, took up his abode 

207 



A TURBULENT STREAM 

amongst a tribe of savages near Port Moresby, and 
there lived, cut off from his compatriots, for many 
years. He was well known, if only for the peculiar 
dress he adopted a grass petticoat, very full at the 
hips, designed and executed by himself. He was 
apparently held in high esteem by the natives, but in 
the end suffered the death of so many white men, 
being murdered by his quondam friends for the purpose 
of obtaining blood of a higher quality than their own, 
with which to consecrate the pillars of their new idol- 
house and thereby bring luck to all within. We, on 
this present expedition, never adopted the dress of 
primitive man, but at the rate we were shedding 
garments and the havoc wrought upon them by the 
insects and the jungle thorns, it looked as if we should 
soon be reduced to these straits, not from choice but of 
necessity. 

In an endeavour to maintain a link with the left 
bank of the Wataikwa during the wet season, the 
Gurkhas threw across a powerful cable made of rattan, 
the ends secured to immense tree trunks washed down 
months before. These trees had the appearance of being 
fixed for ever, but the very first flood after the cable 
was finished swept the trees and the connecting rope 
out of existence, so far as we were concerned. It was 
a flood of considerable height, and gave a vivid demon- 
stration of how rivers change their courses and alter the 
face of the country in the shortest periods. Whole 
islands of vegetation, the result of landslides in the 
mountains, swept past the camp at railway speed, while 
acres of stony promontories, composed of massive 
boulders, moved bodily across and down stream or 
vanished for ever. In the midst of this turmoil our 
own particular island, now completely isolated, lost 

208 



HEWING AXD CUTTING 

large slices of its perimeter, but was saved from extinc- 
tion by a mass of loose limestone rocks too great for 
any flood to move. 

A few hours of quietness and the river would fall 
with the same rapidity as it had risen, when the oppor- 
tunity would be taken to cross and continue the path 
cutting. The line chosen was one which it was hoped 
would just miss the broken slopes of the foothills. The 
direction was kept by compass bearings, but at the best 
it was a plunge into the dark, as nothing could be seen 
of the country to the east except the edge of the forest 
lining the left bank of the river. There were eight of 
us all told who were available for the work, and on 
account of the exhausting nature of forest hewing and 
cutting the party was divided into two, working on 
alternate days. Progress was necessarily spasmodic, as, 
in addition to the oft impassable river, men fell sick and 
there were none to replace them, but wet or fine the 
work, as long as there was the slightest chance of head- 
way being made, was carried on without intermission. 
As one man tired or his hands gave out by reason of 
blisters or soreness, his place was at once taken by 
another. Over and over again were we compelled to 
abandon portions of the road as some particular spur or 
ravine, lying at right angles to the line of advance, 
defied all efforts to construct a practicable path for 
coolie transport. We had entered a rough and hilly 
country strewn with moss- covered boulders and seamed 
with nullahs covered with an impenetrable mass of 
the closest and toughest of timber. The density of 
this growth almost passes belief; through it no man 
can force a way unless with an axe in hand, and as 
the majority of the trees are of the hardest wood, the 
stems varying from four to eight inches in diameter, 

209 o 



DREARY WORK 

and clothed from top to bottom with water-laden 
earth hidden beneath a cloak of moss, progress at 
times became impossible. 

An idea of the labour entailed in the task of clearing 
a two-foot path through this forest may be judged by 
the fact that a stretch of five thousand yards required 
three weeks' incessant work before a man could pass 
along without brushing the stems. On one day two 
cutters accomplished a length of two hundred and ten 
yards, and on another, when I was working by myself, 
all I could add was a piece of ninety yards in length. 
More unprofitable and dreary labour cannot be im- 
agined, as except for the occasional shrill cry of the 
Greater Bird of Paradise and the Rifle Bird, not a 
sound broke the stillness of the forest. Both birds 
were to be commonly heard upon the confines of this 
dark and gloomy haunt, but even they would seldom 
venture into the heart of the densest growth. Only 
on the rarest occasions were they seen, and then but for 
a moment as they darted from one secluded spot to 
another. 

Snakes abounded, some poisonous and others harm- 
less, while all the time mosquitoes buzzed around and 
leeches prowled over one's clothes in search of a succu- 
lent piece of flesh. 



210 



CHAPTER XV 

Cheerless prospects Shattered hopes Ill-used Gurkhas Fresh stores 
A bolting gun-bearer Birds of paradise Return to the Wataikwa 
Difficulties of surveying Photographing the natives 

A BOUT this period I ceased to keep a diary. The 
-LJL daily failure to find a possible route was suffi- 
ciently disappointing without recording the want of 
success in writing. Three weeks' wearisome labour 
at cutting and hewing resulted in the completion of 
three miles of the narrowest and roughest of tracks. 
Up hill and down, in the vain effort to find an easier 
route or to work on a more level plain, the narrow 
road was slowly pushed forward, without being re- 
warded by a single glimpse of the mountains or of a 
greater distance than twenty yards ahead. Can this 
forest, with its horrible monotony and impregnability, 
be equalled by any other in the world ? 

As failure followed failure our spirits fell, and 
conversation, as we sheltered from the pouring rain, 
turned on the probability of our never reaching our 
goal With barely room to move, with the fetid 
air of rotting vegetation to breathe, the hum of mos- 
quitoes the only sound, and with the most limited 
range of visions, the prospect was as cheerless as it 
well could be. To make matters worse, the food- 
supply was running dangerously low, and the dwind- 
ling number of coolies arriving by each convoy from 
Parimau barely sufficed to bring enough food to last till 
the next visit. The Wataikwa was in continual flood, 

211 



CHEERLESS PROSPECTS 

rendering the daily crossings not only dangerous, but 
a particularly unpleasant way of starting a day's work 
in the jungle. Every now and again, so fierce would 
be the current racing past the camp, that fording be- 
came an impossibility and work had to be abandoned 
for the time. Over and over again was the road 
paced, first on going out in the morning and then 
again on the return, until it was recognised that the 
path had so lengthened that the journey backwards and 
forwards to the head of the clearing entailed as much 
labour as the actual work itself. 

By 6th August three miles of the road were finished, 
and it was realised that this plan of starting forth each 
day from the base camp on the Wataikwa could no 
longer be followed. The Gurkhas, together with the 
three Papuans who were still with us, were therefore 
despatched with a light camp outfit to the farthest 
point reached, there to remain and cut the path for- 
ward till the Iwaka should be met with. As it 
happened, this decided the question whether we were 
to get through to the east or not, for hardly had two 
hours of work been completed on the following day 
when the forest thinned. Pushing forward rapidly 
they came within sound of the river, and guided by 
the noise were soon able to reach its banks. The 
pioneer party returned to their jungle camp at once 
and prepared to push forward at daybreak. 

The first intimation we received of the success was 
the sudden arrival that night of the three Papuans. 
They looked as pleased as Punch, and in one breath 
informed us that the Iwaka was found, and to verify 
their story produced a bunch of casuarina twigs (a tree 
only to be found on the banks of the largest rivers), 
adding at the same time the false report that they 

212 



SHATTERED HOPES 

had transported the whole of the camp kit to the new 
river, and that their work being completed, they had 
been sent back by the Gurkhas- We were delighted 
at the news, and congratulating ourselves that at last 
we had found faithful and trustworthy men, paid them 
accordingly and dismissed them to their homes. Alas ! 
our hopes in this respect were quickly shattered. 

Starting alone at daybreak, in three hours I reached 
the forest camping ground, which I expected to find 
cold and dreary, but where to my surprise the fire 
was found to be still burning. Pushing rapidly along 
the freshly-cut trail, the Gurkhas were soon found, 
each man staggering under a load as heavy as him- 
self. Their tempers were not of the best, and had 
the natives then appeared I would not have answered 
for the consequences. From them I learnt that the 
wily Papuans, without saying a word, had slipped away 
the night before to avoid the labour of carrying the 
loads to the Iwaka, and to receive full pay for work 
not yet accomplished. They had rightly reckoned 
that we could not at once verify their story, and know- 
ing that we paid immediately on the completion of 
any task, had determined to risk the lie. For the time 
they had the better of us. 

Into my sympathetic ears the tale of woe was 
poured by the ill-used Gurkhas, after which outburst, 
their feelings being somewhat relieved, the loads were 
readjusted and within two hours we were upon the 
river's banks, gazing at a yellow-stained torrent as it 
raced between stony shores. The volume of water 
coming down was about equal to that of the Wataikwa 
or Tuaba, but offered a far more serious obstacle to a 
passage, as instead of dividing into many channels, 
each of which might be crossed in turn, it was here 

213 



FRESH STORES 

confined to a single bed seventy to eighty yards in 
width. In such a current no canoe could hope to live, 
and fording was out of the question. The forest grew 
right down to the water's edge, and as far as we could 
see there were no shoals or branching streams. 

A site for a new camp was soon chosen, and leaving 
instructions for a thorough search to be made for a 
ford, I returned to the Wataikwa, dead beat. 

During my temporary absence Goodfellow had 
arrived, bringing with him a welcome supply of fresh 
stores which had just arrived from England, and of 
such a tempting appearance that the case had to be 
opened then and there. Parimau natives had brought 
out Goodfellow's stores, as none of our own coolies 
were free for transport work in the forest. As usual 
the Papuans were in a wild hurry to return to their 
wives, but a judicious bribe on the following morn- 
ing induced them to carry my kit over to the spot 
where the Gurkhas were camped, the loads weighing 
almost nothing, as my tent had vanished into dust 
weeks before, of such indifferent material had it been 
made, and I was trying the experiment of sleeping 
under whatever the inhospitable jungle would provide. 
A leaf hut may be artistic, but it is a most uncomfort- 
able habitation in heavy rain. 

My object in moving to the Iwaka for a few days 
was to try and discover a ford or some means by which 
the river could be crossed. Three days were spent in 
the search but without success, the river being a torrent 
without a single branch which would have divided the 
volume of the waters. Four or five miles was the 
farthest point reached up-stream, as the natives flatly 
refused to carry the loads a step farther or to surmount 
the smallest hill Some great fear seemed to lay hold 

214 



A BOLTING GUN-BEARER 

of them whenever such a thing was proposed, but 
exactly what it was they were afraid of we never could 
tell. 

For a few moments one day I thought I had over- 
come their objection to climbing, as after a little per- 
suasion the native who was carrying the gun agreed to 
clamber to the summit of a small 100-feet landslide. 
An excellent but limited view was here obtained, but 
before I had got properly to work with the glasses a 
clatter of stones drew my attention elsewhere. My 
brave carrier was racing down the hillside, leaping over 
the hollows and fallen timber in his anxiety to reach 
the bottom, where, regardless of our appeals, he dashed 
into the undergrowth and vanished. The sound of 
breaking branches told only too clearly of the wild 
career that was being urged forward. His flight would 
have mattered little had he left the gun behind, but 
reasoning that with this weapon in our hands he might 
be shot and that if he carried it along with him we 
could do no possible harm, he had enough cunning to 
realise which was the safer course. To lose the gun 
in this way was quite annoying enough, but it was 
particularly vexatious at this time, as on it depended 
the entire supply of meat. 

On arrival in camp some hours later the first thing 
that caught my eye was the gun leaning against my hut 
and the faithless carrier squatting close by, an appeas- 
ing grin spread over his features. He was not in the 
least abashed at his behaviour, and attempted no ex- 
planation ; to this day I have not the slightest idea why 
he bolted, as he had been asked to do nothing extra- 
ordinary, and must have known that he would lose his 
pay for that day's work at least. To punish them all, 
as no one seemed in the slightest concerned over the 

215 



BIRDS OF PARADISE 

matter, the nightly ration was stopped, much to their 
disgust. The lesson was not as effective as it might 
have been, as on the way home we had killed a twelve- 
foot python. It was discovered lying along a branch of 
a tree, its head hanging down a foot or two, ready to seize 
whatever might pass beneath. It might have been dead 
for all the notice it took of the stealthy approach of the 
Gurkha who, with one swinging blow of a pole, broke 
its neck. Two natives had remained below when the 
faithless gun-bearer had bolted, and these seized greedily 
upon the snake, severing its head from the body with 
the sharp edge of a piece of split cane. Even after the 
removal of the skin the great body turned and writhed 
amongst the rocks, and not till it had been cut up in 
pieces a foot long did the contortions cease. To make 
my punishment still less effective the Papuans sallied 
forth at dusk and added a repulsive-looking iguana and 
a dozen prawns to their unappetising meal. 

During our absence the other Gurkha had been out 
with the small collecting gun, and had the good fortune 
to see many of the glorious Greater Birds of Paradise 
dancing in the trees to the south of the camp. None 
were shot, as the range was too great, but he had had the 
satisfaction of watching for many hours this fascinating 
display of plumage. On one tree alone nine cocks were 
dancing and on another tree five, the hens perched on 
the branches round about and egging them on by a 
succession of piercing calls. These splendid birds were 
here very numerous, and as they showed no fear of man, 
gave to the onlooker beneath the tree a most delightful 
exhibition of their methods of courtship. 

Birds of Paradise have been known to Europeans 
for many centuries, and in the olden times were 
believed, by those who visited the island, to have no 
legs and to live continually in the skies. This idea was 

216 




GREATER BIRD OF PARADISE 

Throat green ; crown orange-yellow ; breast, wings, and tail chsstnut ; and long flank feathers 
of the richest golden yellow. 



RETURN TO THE WATAIKWA 

impressed upon the travellers' minds by the fact that 
the skins, purchased from the savages with whom they 
came in touch, had already had the legs removed, but 
for what reason no one knows ; perhaps it was because 
the large and rather ungainly feet detract from the 
perfect beauty of the bird. 1 

Hundreds of these skins are exported annually from 
New Guinea and the Aru Islands, although in the latter 
place so indiscriminate has been the slaughter that the 
trade had diminished by 90 per cent. When it is remem- 
bered that the female lays only one egg during the 
nesting season, and that the males do not come to full 
plumage until three years of age, it will be seen that 
unless the sale is entirely prohibited in the future, the 
extinction of this exquisite bird is merely a matter of 
time. No more beautiful sight can be witnessed than 
that of a full-grown male, with his great yellow breast 
plumes passing upwards between the outstretched wings 
and forming a quivering arch over his body, dancing up 
and down before the female, and doing his utmost to 
win her heart. 

Had we stayed longer the natives would have de- 
serted, so packing camp on the third day we passed 
back to the Wataikwa, Marshall having already returned 
to Parimau, to which place I soon followed him, as our 
one idea now was to accumulate stores on the Wataikwa, 
and the fewer mouths were there to feed the sooner 
would the work be completed. Goodfellow had to 
remain behind suffering from fever. The change of scene 
had done him no good ; but as this camp was looked 
upon as the healthiest in the district, it was better that 
he should stay here than live in the closed-in forest. 

While on the Wataikwa and Iwaka rivers the 
survey, except for plane-table work, had been almost at 

1 Its name Paradisea Apoda is sufficient to prove this. 

217 



DIFFICULTIES OF SURVEYING 

a standstill, as the mountains were never seen, and the 
journeys had been confined to the forest. 

To those who know not the obstacles and difficulties 
encountered when carrying on a survey in the densely- 
timbered tropics, and particularly to those who in the 
years to come will enter New Guinea for the purpose 
of mapping her unknown mountains, rivers, swamps 
and snows, I will mention a few of the more important 
points which were for ever being impressed upon us 
while working in the Mimika and adjacent districts. 

The rainfall is heavy throughout New Guinea, but 
on account of the proximity of the highest peaks of 
the central range, it is probable that the fall in the 
Mimika district is in excess of that in any other area, 
fewer opportunities being thereby offered for the taking 
of astronomical observations* No chance, however 
fleeting, must ever be missed. 

In the year 1910 no star was visible from early 
in March to the end of May ; and again, from 10th 
June to the third week in October, at no hour of the 
day or night were the heavens free from an impene- 
trable pall of clouds. During the remaining months 
rain fell daily in the afternoons and evenings, and clouds 
covered the mountains within an hour or so of daybreak. 
Under these conditions, and with 'the sun, when on the 
meridian, nearly overhead, it can be realised how hard 
it was to obtain accurate astronomical observations. 
The theodolite and plane-table must be in position by 
the time the sun's first glow is to be seen in the east, 
and the work taken in hand immediately the prominent 
points can be clearly distinguished. Any delay over 
this and the opportunity is lost, not to recur for another 
twenty-four hours. One may in the early mornings 
obtain a clear view for a period ranging from a quarter 
of an hour to an hour and a half; rarely longer. These 

218 



DIFFICULTIES OF SURVEYING 

drawbacks are, however, by no means the most import- 
ant, the chief obstacle of all being the density of the 
forest and the impossibility of finding in the plains any 
elevated point from whence a view can he obtained. 

The only practical positions vouchsafed by nature 
throughout the plains are any spits of sand running out 
to sea and a straight stretch of river. The former 
allows of a wide view, but too distant for accurate detail 
except where the peaks show up against the skyline ; the 
latter position a restricted range of vision, seldom con- 
taining more than two or three of the required points. 
It therefore behoves the surveyor to construct some 
vantage point from whence a clear view may be obtained 
to all the peaks required. To do this the forest must be 
cleared, a feat only to be accomplished after months of 
strenuous and persistent work ; and it was this plan 
that we adopted. A measured base line is out of the 
question, for even if a thousand feet line was cut, two 
more would still be necessary one from either end to- 
wards the points to be fixed and even then they would 
be unlikely to bring within view more than one or two 
of the mountain peaks. The plan adopted by us was 
as follows. 

We took the longitude, as assumed by the Dutch 
authorities, at the mouth of the Mimika, where a con- 
venient spit of sand ran far out to sea, and there 
obtained the latitude and the azimuth of Tapiro Peak. 
That was simple enough ; now came the difficulty of an 
artificial clearing. At Parimau, distant twenty-one 
miles in a direct line from the coast, it was early realised 
that if the forest could be levelled in the vicinity of the 
carnp, a view of the entire range of mountains to* the 
north and east could be obtained, and for this purpose 
every available coolie and every savage who could be 
persuaded was put on to the work of felling trees. 

219 



DIFFICULTIES OF SURVEYING 

For five months the cutting continued, sometimes 
with only three or four men working, at other times 
twenty or more, and never a day passed without the 
crash of falling trees breaking on one's ear. In all four- 
teen acres of the densest forest vanished, giving as we had 
hoped a full and perfect view of Carstensz and almost 
the entire Nassau Range. Here the latitude was 
obtained and the azimuth of Tapiro Peak taken. To 
ensure great accuracy the astronomical and triangula- 
tion work was done over and over again, and on this 
base of twenty-one miles was the map built up. 
Heights were found by theodolite vertical angles. 
Plane-table work was carried on where and whenever 
a chance offered, sometimes hardly a line being added, 
at others a few square miles, until at length the work 
was finished. The rivers were plotted from the angles 
taken by the prismatic compass, the distances being 
judged by eye, a very satisfactory way, after a little 
practice. The instruments had been supplied by the 
Royal Geographical Society, and were of course of the 
best description, but a lighter plane-table would have 
been preferable under the circumstances in which we 
were placed. 

In a country such as this, where every pound of 
weight alters the speed and the distance covered, the 
lightest surveying equipment should be used. Reeves' 
Distance Finder Telescope and Astronomical Compass 
were invaluable. I have heard, but cannot vouch for 
the truth of the story, that the Dutch expedition work- 
ing to the east of us had the fortune to find a single 
flat-topped hill bare of vegetation upon which a base 
was measured, but if this is so, the case must be unique 
in the island of New Guinea. 

Photography was likewise much hindered by the 
clouds and the excessive rain. Sunlight was almost a 

220 



PHOTOGRAPHING THE NATIVES 

necessity on account of the difficulty of obtaining con- 
trasts of light, as figures with the dark jungle as a 
background showed up most indistinctly. The moist 
air played havoc with plates and films alike, and com- 
pelled us not only to expose the plates immediately 
they were placed in the camera, but to waste no time in 
developing them. 

It was not till we showed them the picture reflected 
in the " finders " that the Papuans comprehended at all 
the use of the black boxes which were always being 
carried about ; but they were quick to learn that when 
the lens pointed towards them it was for some particular 
purpose, and to this many offered strong objection, 
scurrying to their huts like a lot of rabbits as soon as 
the camera appeared. I can only assume that someone 
who had been ill suddenly became better after having 
had his portrait taken, as all at once, instead of running 
away they actually placed themselves in front of the 
camera and assumed extravagant postures of their own. 
Once when Marshall was working the cinematograph 
and I was holding two terrified babies in my arms to be 
photographed, instead of the women being frightened, 
every mother rushed off for her offspring and dragged 
the screaming youngsters towards us, begging that they 
might take their turn and be treated likewise. After 
they had seen a few of the ordinary photographs of 
their friends, they were more difficult to take in natural 
positions, and would pose themselves in such awkward 
attitudes as to render any portrait valueless. An indi- 
vidual selected for a photograph would adopt an air of 
superiority over his comrades, and when he had learnt 
what was required would remain perfectly still till all 
was finished, maintaining throughout the operation 
such a self-satisfied air as to annoy his friends and put 
a stop to further work for the day. 

221 



CHAPTER XVI 

Floods at Parimau A burial Depressing circumstances A successful 
clearing Natives' idea of supply and demand Mosquitoes and leeches 
The value of medicine Mortality of the expedition Beri-beri 
Malaria 

ON reaching the Mimika it was clear that a storm of 
exceptional violence had but lately swept down 
the valley, all the more remarkable from the fact that 
nothing unusual had occurred on the Wataikwa, a short 
eighteen miles to the east. For the two previous months 
rain had fallen every day, and nearly all day, and though 
much damage had been done to the banks of the river, 
no one dreamt that any flood could possibly reach 
the floors of our Parimau huts, situated as they were 
fifteen feet above the ordinary level of the water. 

So exceptional, however, was the downpour on 
18th August, that not a single foot of the country re- 
mained above the level of the overflowing rivers. At 
10 P.M. the storm, which had been brewing amongst the 
hills, burst over Parimau, and developed into a regular 
cataract of falling water at midnight. From now 
onwards the incessant peals of thunder put sleep out 
of the question. The black eddying river, lit up by the 
vivid flashes of lightning, could J)e seen gliding irresist- 
ibly past, its surface covered with*^wjoted jfyps hurry- 
ing towards the sea, giving forth no sdlta^ but the 
insuck of the whirlpools, and ^^ffle^isrplashes of the 
undermined banks as they fill fon^trd in great slices 
and vanished from sight. With the Joar of the elements 

222 



FLOODS AT PARIMAU 

were mingled the terrified cries of the Papuans in the 
village opposite. Already the waters were over the 
floors of their huts, whilst, by the flickering light of the 
torches, ghostly figures could be distinguished working 
wildly to save their stock of worldly goods. 

The rise continued with alarming rapidity. 

Into the canoes which were now floating alongside 
the huts were cast every animate and inanimate object, 
including the dying headman of the village, whose ster- 
torous breathing could be distinctly heard across the 
river. With their more portable goods safely afloat, 
the frenzied men turned their attention to saving what 
they could of the houses, by lashing the strips of mat 
roofing to the tree-trunks or casting them into the 
branches overhead. As the storm slackened and black 
darkness took the place of the blinding flashes, so the 
cries of the panic-stricken natives increased. Nothing 
now could be distinguished in the gloom, and no reason 
could be given for the new outburst of fear, until, by 
the light of our own flickering candles, the water was 
seen to have risen over the top of our bank and to be 
flowing through our own huts, proving only too clearly 
that the native village was entirely submerged. 

Our own bank was crumbling so rapidly that the 
walls of our huts threatened to collapse at any moment, 
since the supports were resting upon nothing but the 
projecting roots of trees felled long previously. With 
what anxious eyes we watched the tottering beams, pre- 
pared at a moment's notice to run for it should the land 
begin to*lide. Thj^ last action, however, proved un- 
necessarji , aBfegoon afterwards the water began to fall, 
until by dayfe?^, fiM$^ix feet of our bank were bare. 
On the opposite skie, whljbh, as I said, was considerably 
lower than ours, ngj; a square foot of land was visible ; 



A BURIAL 

the village had completely vanished, and where it had 
once stood floated a dozen overladen canoes. 

The dawn was ushered in by a chorus of wails, for 
the natu had departed to a better world, his end no 
doubt hastened by the terrors of the past night. Poor 
old man, he had been expected to die days before, and 
so certain were his friends that it was but a matter of 
hours, that they had already dug and prepared his grave. 

To find a landing-place, some of the more energetic 
natives set out with their canoes along the outskirts of 
the forest, but soon relinquished the task as hopeless, 
and returned to their old anchorage in the trees. The 
canoes presented a weird appearance, piled high as they 
were with a miscellaneous jumble of kerosene tins, 
women, weapons, and rags, while over all scrambled 
the babies and dogs. With the coming of the daylight 
all fear of a disaster vanished, the spirits of the natives 
regained their phlegmatic calm and, before an hour had 
passed, fires were burning in the stern of each canoe and 
the eternal sago-balls were blackening on the embers. 

It was a sad scene all the same, and all the more 
depressing by the continual wailing of the dead man's 
relatives. Later on in the day, when the land was once 
more exposed, the body, wrapped in leaves and bits of 
old matting, was placed on a platform which had been 
hastily erected close at hand, and the people, dispensing 
with what little clothing is customary, plastered them- 
selves with mud and mourned to the setting of the sun. 
On this platform the corpse remained for two days, and 
was then transferred, firstly into a canoe-shaped coffin, 
and then into a newly-dug grave. Although placed 
two or three feet below the surface of the surrounding 
ground, the coffin was not closed, nor was the grave 
filled in. Fresh obsequies attended the removal, and 

224 




A PATRIARCH 

The oldest man of the up-river tribes, who, on account of his age, wielded a wooden instead of 

a stone club. 



A BURIAL 

since the dead patriarch was a man of influence, more 
rites were paid him than is usual in these parts. 

For the first time since the death the deceased's 
wife and sister appeared, and, in the same state of nudity 
as the more distant relatives, crawled on hands and 
knees to the place of interment. As far as we could 
make out, their duty was to turn over the body daily, 
with the supposed object of hastening decomposition. 
Painted and decorated posts were erected at the head 
and feet of the grave, and the whole fenced in. From 
time to time visitors on arrival and departure demon- 
strated their respect for the deceased by the usual 
lamentations at the grave-side, occasionally adding 
vines and fresh branches to the already thickly-en- 
twined railings, in very much the same way as wreaths 
are brought to a funeral in England. 

The grave was never filled in, and though the 
stench from the decomposing body was terrible, yet no 
disgust was shown by the natives living close at hand, 
nor were the cooking and usual household arrangements 
interfered with in any way. 

The new village was fated to stand but a short time, 
as ten days later a fresh storm swept over the valley, 
fortunately of not quite such severity as the last, but 
still sufficient to destroy the whole of the newly con- 
structed huts. By the end of August the solid land 
in front had vanished, and the once broad and airy 
village had shrunk to a slender line of hovels, balanced 
upon the edge of a crumbling bank. The natives 
themselves, used I suppose to this kind of treatment, 
took no trouble to save what little land had remained, 
and never ventured to copy the retaining wall of 
timber we found it necessary to erect to prevent our 
own houses from toppling into the river. 

P 



DEPRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES 

At heart we were as depressed as the natives, for 
without fresh coolies we could do nothing. Nineteen 
tired men were all we now had in the country, a quite 
insufficient force to move us even one march into the 
hills, let alone the main range lying many miles behind. 
Months of inactivity stared us in the face, months 
during which one's strength would continue to diminish, 
together with the crushing knowledge that our goal 
was receding farther and farther into the dim distance. 
The one bright spot was the welcome supply of fresh 
stores from England, and of this the pleasure afforded 
can only be appreciated by those who have suffered 
from the want of the bare necessities of life, or who 
have existed upon tinned herrings and salmon for 
months on end. 

With this supply of good things came Shortridge 
back from his trip to Australia, to all outward appear- 
ance quite recovered from his severe bout of malaria, 
but, that the germs of this disease cannot be so rapidly 
eradicated from the system, was soon shown by fresh 
attacks which took place within three weeks of his 
landing. There also arrived Mr. C. H. Grant, a natur- 
alist of considerable experience, sent out from home 
to replace the late Mr. Stalker, who lost his life at 
Wakatimi early in the expedition. 

In this enforced state of inactivity the natives who 
were willing to work and all who could be persuaded 
to lend a hand, were set to clear the forest round the 
camp and on the east bank of the river. This work 
had been started with the threefold object of rendering 
the camp more healthy, employing the time of the 
unoccupied coolies, and with the hope that a view 
might eventually be obtained of the snows. This 
latter object, from a survey point of view, was most 

226 



A SUCCESSFUL CLEARING 

important, as from no other point, except at the mouth 
of the Mimika River, had the mountains been seen. 
Without this second view the task of fixing the promi- 
nent points and ascertaining their heights was impos- 
sible, and no certain knowledge of the obstacles which 
lay ahead could be gleaned from the short incursions 
which had already been made into the hills. This 
clearing when finished was one of the best bits of work 
undertaken while we were in the country, and was 
carried on with such steady and systematic persever- 
ance that at the end not a tree remained to impede the 
view of Carstensz, Idenburg, and the whole of the great 
peaks of the Nassau Range. 

At this work of tree cutting the Mimika Papuan is 
in his element. His one ambition in life seems to be 
that of felling trees with a steel axe, and as long as he 
can do this he is perfectly happy. To be able to do 
it in comfort, close to his home, to chat and smoke 
between whiles, and to be paid for it in addition, is real 
bliss. And when one comes to look at it in his light, 
and to try even the task of splitting fire-wood with a 
heavy blunt stone axe, his joy in wielding five pounds 
of sharpened steel is not to be wondered at. Fourteen 
acres, for such was the extent cleared in five months, 
sounds little, but the task was in reality a stupendous 
one, as those who have seen dense tropical jungle will 
agree, particularly when, as in this case, many of the 
trees were twenty to twenty-five feet in circumference, 
and were hard enough to defy our united efforts for 
days at a time. 

Though they longed to own these axes themselves, 
only on two occasions did they attempt to steal them, 
and when they borrowed one would always return it. 
The first axes given to the men of Parimau were in 

227 



SUPPLY AND DEMAND 

exchange for canoes, and the addition of these tools to 
their limited stock started a very fever of canoe build- 
ing. By borrowing others from our camp fresh fuel 
was added to their ardour, until canoes became a glut 
in the market. When our fleet of boats were sufficient 
in number, we naturally enough would buy no more, 
but this simple proof of the law of supply and 
demand the natives could never fathom. It was the 
same in other respects. If a bunch of fish was pur- 
chased, strings of men would continue to arrive at 
short intervals each with other bunches; they were 
astounded when no more were bought, and could never 
be made to understand that we had enough for our 
present requirements. Once any fish were refused they 
decided that no more were needed for weeks to come, 
and not a fish would be seen, although asked for almost 
daily. So it was when a turtle was bought for the 
reptile collection, turtles poured in. The same with 
stone clubs, sago, &c. ; but the only thing we would 
never have refused were bananas, and of these there 
were seldom sufficient. The coolies, sick to death of 
their eternal rice and half-decomposed salt fish, were 
ready to give every stitch of clothing for the fruit, 
regardless of the after consequences of having nothing 
to wear or to sleep upon. 

A scarcity of clothing to the coolies would have 
been rather an advantage than otherwise, had it not 
rendered them more vulnerable to the attacks of insects, 
and particularly those of the malarial mosquito. When 
camping for the night on a new patch of ground, unless 
the jungle in the immediate vicinity is cleared of low 
scrub, the assaults of the clouds of mosquitoes are irre- 
sistible, putting sleep out of the question and laying 
up a stock of sickness for the days to come. The 

228 



MOSQUITOES AKD LEECHES 

slightest clearing affords some alleviation from the 
attacks, and if the forest is levelled for from fifty to a 
hundred yards round the habitations, the obnoxious 
pest is entirely eradicated. Opinions differ as to how 
far mosquitoes will travel from the spot of their birth ; 
some say fifty, others two hundred yards, but my idea is 
that in the district in which we were working the limit 
is about a hundred. I have heard it remarked that 
one can always distinguish an anopheles mosquito (the 
malarial species) from its innocuous brother by the 
upright position it assumes, as though it were standing 
on its head ; such a fact may be of scientific interest, 
but as the insect is never seen until the bite has been 
felt and the harm done, such a discovery is not of 
much practical value. Contrary to popular belief, 
they apparently enjoy tobacco fumes ; and the smoke 
of fires, unless so dense as to choke a human being, 
only serves to warn off the most sensitive. 

The remaining species, though very annoying, do no 
serious harm and are little heeded by the savage, as even 
their worst sting will never leave a wound equal to that 
of the mildest leech. The bite of a leech affects a native 
worse than anyone else, for although his skin is tougher 
than that of other men, yet the dirty state of his body 
increases the chances of infection from other sources. 
In the majority of cases the sores increase until they 
become really serious wounds, to check which they take 
no precautions, except when we were present, when they 
would beg for ointment and a dressing particularly 
the dressing from the medicine chest. Even if the 
ointment did no good, they reasoned they could still 
remove the dressing and use it as a head ornament. 

As is the case with most native races, medicine in 
any form was much appreciated by imported man and 

229 



VALUE OF MEDICINE 

Papuan alike. The former thought it his duty, as the 
superior creature, to make as much fuss as possible over 
taking the drug, but liked to be given it all the same. 
The Papuan, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the 
process, and would ask to be doctored whenever oppor- 
tunity offered ; but he was an unsatisfactory creature 
upon whom to confer a benefit and evinced no spark of 
gratitude for favours received, as Marshall found on one 
occasion in particular. During the month of May he 
gave some harmless medicine to a woman who com- 
plained of headache. She soon got well and worked on 
steadily for another four or five weeks, then sickened 
and died. For this the husband considered Marshall 
and the medicine to blame, and as soon as the wailing 
had ceased came over and told him so, following it up 
with bad sulks, probably to see what recompense would 
be offered. "Tis an ill wind,'' &c., for to make up 
for the loss of his breadwinner the bereaved husband 
attached himself to one of the working parties, in order 
that, as he told us, he might win an axe with which to 
purchase a new helpmate. By the hurried way in which 
he departed at the end of his time, I am inclined to 
think he had had his eye upon the new girl for some 
weeks. Something, however, must have gone wrong 
with his scheme, as he was still a bachelor when we 
left the country ; but, as steel axe-heads are scarcer than 
women, he is probably settled in life by this time. 

I have already referred to the high mortality amongst 
the Papuans, who have inhabited the land for countless 
generations and who have become inured to the rigours 
of the climate, but what can be said of ourselves and the 
imported soldiers and carriers? Our casualty list is 
indeed an appalling one, despite the untiring efforts of 
Wollaston and Marshall, who were ever ready to turn 

230 



MORTALITY OF THE EXPEDITION 

out at all hours of the night to help the sick. Still, bad 
as it is, it is little worse than that of many another 
expedition, and better than some, for instance the 
Mamberano party at this time working on the north 
coast, of whom it is reported that at one period there 
was not a single member, black or white, who could 
stand. With us, Europeans, Javanese soldiers and con- 
victs, Gurkhas, men of Sumatra, Macassar, Aniboina 
and Buton, each contributed a share to the high per- 
centage of sick and dead. 

I have carefully avoided many references to this, the 
darkest side of the expedition, and it may be said of 
all journeys undertaken in New Guinea, but it is only 
right that some idea should be given of the heavy toll 
demanded of those who attempt to unravel the secrets 
of this island. 

To simplify the statistics, only those who entered 
the country during the first twelve months have been 
taken into consideration; and, to realise correctly the 
risk of life, it must be remembered that the men em- 
ployed were in the prime of life and in good health 
when landed, and in addition that no individual was on 
any account engaged for a longer period than eight 
months. Of the four hundred men of all races employed 
during this period, twelve per cent, died in the country 
as a direct result of the climate and the hardships under- 
gone. To this list should be added many who left the 
country in the relief ships, in a condition which allowed 
but the faintest hope of recovery. Many of these 
invalids were suffering from beri-beri, a disease which 
claims a heavy toll from the inhabitants of the East 
Indies, but of which we saw no signs amongst the 
natives of New Guinea. Eighty-three per cent, of the 
total force were invalided from the country, and it may 

231 



BERI-BERI 

be sure that no man was sent away unless the case 
absolutely demanded such treatment. 

Of the four hundred Europeans and natives who 
were landed during this year only eleven lasted out till 
the end of the expedition, a total period of fifteen 
months. Of the survivors four were Europeans, four 
were Gurkhas, two were soldiers and one a convict. 
Of the different races the British and Gurkhas stood 
the climate the best, and the Javanese the worst. 

The chief causes of this high mortality and roll of 
sickness were malarial fever, beri-beri, dysentery, pneu- 
monia and general debility. From beri-beri the Javanese 
and men of Sumatra showed the heaviest percentage of 
loss, the Butonese hardly being affected. Goodfellow 
and Cramer were both attacked before leaving the 
country, but soon recovered on reaching healthier 
climes. 

Beri-beri is commonly attributed to feeding on in- 
ferior rice, but this was certainly not proved with us, as 
the supplies of the Dutch escort were at any rate of 
excellent quality, and they suffered even more heavily 
than did our own men. Possibly it may be traced to 
the removal of the husks from the grains of rice, and 
the fine milling which is so popular in the East. As a 
preventive some people pin their faith to Ketchang 
Idjoe (a small bean grown largely in the Malay Archi- 
pelago, and eaten as any other vegetable) ; but here 
again they must be wrong, as both parties used this 
throughout without appreciable result. The Dobo 
pearl-fishers are great believers in the efficacy of this 
bean, and claim, by its means, to have reduced their 
losses to infinitesimal proportions. To my uninitiated 
eyes, the disease appeared to pick out those who carried 
an undue amount of adipose tissue, at any rate the 

232 



MALARIA 

germ, for such I suppose it is, seems to find here a more 
congenial home in which to propagate its species. 

From malaria, sooner or later, we all suffered, but 
had not most of us been provided with mosquito nets 
our days of sickness would have increased tenfold. 
Mosquito nets are certainly a great aid to health, but 
are only of assistance during the dark hours of the 
night, as it is impossible to turn into bed as soon as 
dusk falls, the hour when the death-dealing insect sallies 
forth to the attack. 



233 



CHAPTER XVII 

Illness of Goodfelknv A cheerless place Our ill-fated launch The art of 
polingA hearty welcome Propitiating the river gods Scarcity of 
game Loss of canoes A rain-soaked country Migration Valuable 
detail work Pygmy villages The expedition split up Lost coolies 



OODFELLO W, who had been camping on the 
VJT Wataikwa, to which place he had gone in the 
hope of recouping his strength, returned to Parimau on 
3rd September, so run down that it was imperative 'for 
him to leave the country at the earliest possible moment. 
He had experienced repeated attacks of fever since the 
end of July, each bout leaving him weaker than before, 
and to this was now added symptoms of beri-beri. In 
such a country as New Guinea, when once malaria has 
obtained a thorough hold on the system, the only chance 
of a cure lies in leaving the country for a prolonged 
period of time. A relief ship was shortly expected, 
and in this it was settled he should sail for Europe. 
Far better would it have been if he had given in three 
months previously, but, as is so often the case, he 
hoped and believed that each attack would be the last. 
It was evident, however, that his constitution was too 
undermined to withstand further attack, and, greatly 
against his wish, he accepted the verdict of the medical 
officers, and decided to abandon all idea of remaining 
longer in the country. There is no doubt that had he 
stayed he would have paid the penalty with his life. 
Before, however, cutting himself entirely adrift from 
the expedition, he agreed to procure fresh coolies from 

234 



A CHEERLESS PLACE 

Macassar, and. as soon as these had been despatched, to 
sail direct for England. 

A week later I received a low-spirited message to the 
effect that no ship had called, so, postponing an expedi- 
tion up the Tuaba, I left at once for Wakatimi. During 
the week that I stayed at the base camp there were still 
no signs of the eagerly-expected vessel, and the spirits 
of the invalid coolies, buoyed up by the hopes of early 
departure, fell to the lowest state of despondency. 

I think at that time that Wakatirni was the most 
cheerless place I have ever struck. No one moved 
faster than at a crawl, many used crutches, while others 
had to be assisted about the camp ; so in a wild desire 
to escape the scene I went to the coast, in the hope 
that I might find a way to the river Wania or obtain a 
view of the mountains from a spit of sand at the rnouth 
of the Mimika, a never-failing tonic, if it was only to 
verify the fact that the mountains had not moved since 
last looked at. This journey was carried out by canoe, 
and it may be wondered why the motor boat, obtained 
with so much trouble from Dobo, was not still in use. 

The reason is easy to tell. She was under water. 

No expedition can go just as the promoters desire, 
but it was really extraordinary how the five or six 
attempts to reach the Wania, a large river lying about 
twenty miles to the east, failed from one cause and 
another. Even when suitable transport was available, 
something always happened to prevent an entrance into 
the mouth of that river, until we began to think the 
place bewitched. To superstitious people the following 
short account of our run of ill-luck may be interesting. 

Mr. C. D. Mackellar, one of the keenest and most 
generous supporters of exploration in all parts of the 
world, had presented me on leaving London with a 

235 



OUR ILL-FATED LAUNCH 

lucky horse-shoe, tied with white heather. This, as 
soon as we landed at Wakatimi, had been nailed, points 
uppermost, to a solitary tree in the middle of the camp. 
Fortune having set in dead against us, the horse-shoe 
was blamed, and after four months' trial turned 
round to see if that would improve matters. Thus it 
remained till August, and as affairs showed no signs of 
mending, it was solemnly removed and cast into the 
depths of the river, where at least, so we thought, its 
wicked influence could no longer be felt. But its deeds 
were only transferred from the land to the water, as on 
the following week the motor-boat, on whose help so 
much depended, was wrecked. Thus can this country 
turn good wishes to no account. 

The Amboina boy in charge of the boat had, against 
strict orders, after the third trip, made an attempt to 
return from No. 5 camp to Wakatimi on a high flood 
and in a pitch black night. The result was what might 
have been expected. In the darkness a clearer portion 
of the forest was mistaken for a bend of the river, and 
the boat driven at full speed into a mass of piled-up 
tree trunks. With constant bailing she was floated to 
Wakatimi, there to sink and remain under water for 
a month, the flood not falling sufficiently to enable her 
to be beached. The Europeans were away at the time, 
and the boy cleared off by the next ship, saying that 
the engine had broken down and that the boat was use- 
less. With the assistance of some Dutch pioneers who 
arrived in October at the base camp, she was docked 
and patched up as well as possible, retarred, and her 
bottom covered with pieces of kerosene tins, but in 
spite of this she continued to leak so badly that to 
make her serviceable a man had to be kept permanently 
on duty bailing her out. 

236 



THE ART OF POLING 

As the motor boat was out of order and nothing was 
doing on the coast, I took the first available oppor- 
tunity of returning to Parimau. The journey proved 
as hateful as ever, every foot of the way having to be 
poled, but as this is a more rapid mode of progress than 
paddling, the journey took only five days instead of the 
usual six. We had by this time mastered the art of 
poling, though the narrow sloping bows afforded any- 
thing but a secure foothold. If our punting friends on 
the Thames would narrow their platforms down to nine 
inches they would understand that frequent duckings 
were included in the day's work ; still, in this the 
wettest of all countries, one soaking more or less 
matters little. Of the Europeans, Marshall was the 
most skilled in this particular form of sport, his fine phy- 
sique and weight giving him a decided advantage over 
the lighter members. For some reason I was always 
finding the stickiest piece of mud with my pole, which 
meant that as the pole could not be abandoned, and as 
it refused to come to me, I had to follow it in. 

How thankful we were when the snug huts of 
Parimau hove in sight, and to see our comrades and 
their miscellaneous collection of men waiting at the 
landing-stage to give us a welcome. The greatest joy 
in going away is said to lie in the return, and of all the 
camps, Parimau was the most popular. Even the 
natives received one with open arms, and the grins of 
satisfaction were sufficient to show that, however 
shallow their welcome was in reality, they were always 
pleased to see fresh arrivals from below. We had 
worked and lived amongst them for the best part of 
a year, doctored them and sympathised with their 
troubles, until at length we had actually come to like 
them, or, at any rate, many of the best of them. 

237 



A PROPITIOUS MOMENT 

Except in trivial matters we had no quarrel of any 
sort ; they now understood us, and we them, and 
though I dare say both sides had faults, we found it 
very easy to put up with one another. From the com- 
mercial standpoint the expedition was valuable to 
them, and in the absence of imported labour they were 
simply priceless to us. 

We arrived at a propitious moment, as the Ibo 
people had come over for one of the periodical dances 
and hunting expeditions. The chances of success 
looked remote, as rain again threatened to disarrange 
their plans and wash them out of their homes. Deter- 
mined that this should not happen if it could by 
any means be prevented, an interesting ceremony was 
performed, with the intention, so far as we could make 
out, of propitiating or frightening the river gods into 
a more kindly mood. A crowd of men collected and 
marched to the river bank, where the leader, armed 
with a long hard-wood pole, stepped forth and flogged 
the waters, each blow being received with a chorus of 
" boos/ 5 which in the Mimika language means " flood" 
or " water." This proceeding having been satisfac- 
torily completed, a hole was scooped out of the soil in 
front of each hut and a cocoa-nut full of water poured 
in, each emptying being followed by more " boos," after 
which the holes were filled in, and the men dispersed 
to their homes. Curiously enough the water rose to 
the line of these holes and no farther, but that such is 
not always the case is shown by the way the more 
practical women continued to bale out the canoes in 
readiness for another night afloat. 

The sing-song came off successfully, and was suc- 
ceeded on the following day by the hunt, but though 
three villages were taking part in the business, not an 

238 



SCARCITY OF GAME 

animal was killed, and the people were proportionately 
crestfallen and sulky. There is little doubt that the 
continual firing of guns by the collectors had driven 
much of the game away, with the result that the 
natives suffered. To make amends for this, so far as we 
were able, no body of a bird or beast killed by us was 
ever thrown away ; and with the exception of pigeons 
all eventually found its way into the village cooking- 
pots. Carrion crows, hawks, and other birds were 
alike eagerly accepted by the ever hungry natives ; they 
were at once plucked, placed on the hot embers of the 
fire, and the bones picked clean in a very few minutes. 
Where a Papuan is, nothing is wasted. He will eat 
anything and in any condition (except bad rice, of which 
we had plenty, and this he cannot stomach), fresh or 
decomposed, clean or dirty, from a pig to a grub, and 
all forms of life that come between, including such 
creatures as iguanas, lizards, snakes, rats, or anything 
else that breathes. 

We had been exactly ten months in the country, 
and although it was generally believed that the dry 
season was at hand, the rainfall showed little diminution, 
a particularly heavy flood visiting Parimau on 12th 
October, and for the fourth time sweeping the native 
village completely out of existence. On our side of the 
river the waters rose to the level of the floors of the 
huts, doing great damage to the banks, carrying away 
eight of our flotilla of eleven canoes, and smashing them 
to pieces on the rocks below. With them went the land- 
ing stages, for nothing can resist the great tree-trunks 
whey they come whirling down on a flood. The 
wretched natives spent a miserable night afloat, squat- 
ting in their canoes midst depressed relations and 
dripping household goods. The gurgling suck of the 

239 



A RAIN-SOAKED COUNTRY 

waters, the cries of the natives, and the fall of great 
trees, both in the river and in the jungle, produced 
a pandemonium not readily forgotten. 

On the subsiding of the waters the natives were 
compelled to re- erect their huts on the only ground 
available, the original site of the village being now much 
diminished in size. The large space of open ground 
which had met our eyes on our first arrival at Parimau 
had now practically vanished, worn away by the per- 
sistent attacks of the river, and it was our presence only 
and the prospects of trade that prevented the natives 
from migrating to other regions. 

With perpetual floods sweeping over the country 
and destroying the villages it is hard to see how the 
natives can ever be raised in the social scale by the con- 
struction of homes of a more permanent nature. Huts 
erected in the forks of the larger trees, a style of archi- 
tecture patronised in other districts of New Guinea, here 
finds no favour, though it appears to be the only solution 
of the difficulty. The forest land being nothing more or 
less than a malarial bog, man is restricted to the narrow 
strip of ground bordering the rivers, where, at any rate, 
the sun at times can reach the soil and bring warmth to 
the half-drowned savage. To these discomforts must 
be added the scarcity of food, both game and vegetable, 
usually represented by flabby fish and sago, and it must 
be owned that life is but a dull routine to the man and 
hard labour for the woman. 

Scarcely had the people recovered from the effects 
of the last flood when still another threatened to de- 
stroy their new works, though stopping short at actual 
damage. It was, however, the last straw. The entire 
population, sick of being drowned out of their homes, 
decided then and there to move to other parts, and 

240 



VALUABLE DETAIL WORK 

packing their canoes with every portable article, sailed 
down the stream and were no more seen. L T nfortunately 
the best men, those who were always ready to carry, 
went with them, a few loafers alone remaining, either 
compelled to stay because the canoes were insufficient 
in number to carry them all at once, or because their 
cupidity was awakened by the sight of a box of fine 
carving knives which we had held over as a special 
inducement to work when other trade goods were at a 
discount. 

Xo coolies being available, Marshall and I with ten 
natives, on 17th October, started off in an attempt to 
penetrate into the mountains to the north of the Tuaba 
River. It may be remarked by my readers that these 
side excursions helped in no whit towards a systematic 
and distant entry into the high mountains, and that they 
were but a waste of time. In a sense this is true, for 
we knew before this date that the final line of advance 
would have to be directly to the east. It is also true, 
however, that no prolonged journey was possible without 
transport, and the only feasible thing to be done, there- 
fore, was to prepare the preliminary stages, explore the 
country on either hand, incidentally adding much valu- 
able detail work to the map, search for easier roads, and 
to take care not to draw upon any stores already landed 
at the most advanced depot. Each tour in itself was 
of little value, but each added something of either geo- 
graphical or zoological interest, and therefore was worth 
undertaking. Handicapped as we were, it was the best 
and only possible means of helping on the work of the 
expedition. 

On this particular journey it was hoped that a fine 
view of the precipitous face of the main range would 
be obtained, and that incidentally we might come across 

241 a 



PYGMY VILLAGES 

another village of pygmies, many of whom were re- 
ported to be living in the foothills. As usual all went 
well until the mountains were reached, when the dilatory 
tactics of the natives recommenced. The rain fell in 
torrents, quickly flooding the river and forcing us out of 
the bed into the jungle. A wet and uncomfortable night 
was spent, but a fine morning put some life into the 
carriers and encouraged them to advance afresh. Pro- 
gress was slow, as the kukries of the Gurkhas had to be 
used to open up every yard of the road. At night we 
halted well in the mountains, finding for once a clear 
spot to camp upon, a sandy spit formed at a bend of 
the river. 

During the day a grand view had been obtained of 
the great precipice, rising black and threatening a short 
twelve to fourteen miles away. But how hopeless 
seemed the prospect of reaching the foot, for wild and 
rugged knife- edged ridges intervened, some covered 
with dense forest, others too steep for even the scrub 
bush to obtain a foothold. A flat refusal from the 
natives to proceed any farther up the main river, com- 
pelled us to fall in with their suggestion that we should 
visit a pygmy village on Tapiro Mountain, and another 
twelve hours were spent struggling over the rocks of 
a stream of crystal water, at the end of which time 
the Papuans placidly informed us that there were no 
pygmies anywhere near, but that they sometimes visited 
the stream on the look-out for fish, as if that was the 
same thing and all we wanted to know. As we dis- 
covered long afterwards, in this move they had deliber- 
ately deceived us, for a pygmy village did exist within 
one march of the night's camp, but in exactly the oppo- 
site direction to that in which they had brought us. 
This they would not expose, either from fear of the 

242 



THE EXPEDITION SPLIT UP 

wrath of the p} T gmies, or because they wished to keep 
our trade goods to themselves, and thus enchance the 
value of their own possessions. 

An advance up the Tuaba River, unaccompanied 
by the natives, led to no better result, and as no track 
of any description could be traced, it appears likely that 
the main valley is uninhabited. These colonies of hill- 
men are scattered and few in number, and do not 
extend beyond Wataikwa Mountain to the east. How 
far to the west they go is uncertain, but by the forma- 
tion of the mountains and the more gentle slopes to be 
encountered in that direction, it is quite possible that 
they may be found as far as the valley dividing the 
Nassau from the Charles Louis range. In fact, what 
appeared to be cultivation was seen by the glasses lying 
high up the mountain side at a distance of fifteen to 
eighteen miles to the west, but in a position quite 
impossible to locate unless assisted by the inhabitants 
themselves. 

At this time the expedition was split up into small 
parties, each member doing as much as possible of his 
own particular kind of work. Shortridge was collecting 
on the Wataikwa, Grant on the Kapare, but all were 
waiting anxiously for the batch of coolies which Good- 
fellow had promised to enlist. Our carriers had steadily 
dwindled in numbers till now but twelve remained, and 
these were fully employed in keeping Shortridge's and 
Grant's parties supplied with the necessaries of life. The 
abominable climate and the continual work had played 
havoc with the men. Backwards and forwards they 
plodded along the same monotonous track, now no 
longer a path but a bog of slime covering a network of 
roots and tangled creepers ; bad enough for the indi- 
genous inhabitants, but killing work for imported labour. 

243 



LOST COOLIES 

The self-same day that Marshall and I set out for 
the Tuaba, Cramer started on a journey of his own, 
being anxious to solve the question as to what con- 
nection there was, if any, between the Tuaba and 
Wataikwa rivers. Taking twenty soldiers and convicts 
and ten days' supplies, he was ferried by the Ibo people 
down the Kamura to its junction with the Wataikwa, 
then up that river, passing the mouth of the Iwaka 
on the way, until the swift current compelled him to 
abandon his canoes and take to the banks. Continuing 
for three days further, the Wataikwa camp was reached 
and the return journey made along the usual route. 
The trip had proved highly successful, as the courses of 
the rivers had been traced, and the Wataikwa found 
navigable for a launch for many miles. Broad and 
stony beaches lay on either hand, and the forest was 
considerably less dense than that bordering on the 
Mimika. 

Short and comparatively comfortable as the trip had 
been, his men on their return showed evident signs of 
breaking down, three dying within the next few days. 
Three others were lost the day before reaching camp, 
for though every endeavour was made to keep the line 
together, such was the denseness of the undergrowth that 
on stepping aside to avoid a particularly bad spot, they 
had failed to regain the trail. Two were found the 
following day by search parties, but of the other, a con- 
vict, nothing could be discovered. On the third day 
hope of ever seeing the man was abandoned, when, 
to the- astonishment of all in camp, he appeared out of 
the undergrowth opposite, walked slowly to the river 
edge, and collapsed. Sixty hours without food and 
shelter, the nights spent in the pouring rain, and, worst 
of all, the horrible knowledge of being lost in a trackless 

244 



LOST COOLIES 

jungle, and that death must come in a very short time, 
is enough to break the stoutest heart. Fortunately he 
was one of the strongest men, and with a plentiful 
supply of food and rest soon recovered. Xo European 
could have stood the strain and lived ; it requires a 
sluggish brain and a phlegmatic temperament, charac- 
teristics of the native of the East. 

The collapse in our own coolies continued, and as 
it was found impracticable to keep the two outlying 
camps longer supplied with food, Shortridge was in 
November withdrawn from the \Vataikwa, and the 
place left under the charge of a Gurkha and a Javanese 
soldier. 



245 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Tapiro Mountain The home of the pygmies Effects of the floods A 
silent march Nervous carriers Excited pygmies A poor joke- 
Churlish hosts Physical characteristics Dress Personal treasures 
Head-dresses Plainsman and pygmy A struggle for existence 
Clearings Elusive women The incomprehensible white man 
Superior plainsmen My suspicious guide A hostile headsman- 
Timid womenfolk Our departure Measurements of pygmies 

UP to this time only such birds as live in the low- 
lying plains had been secured for the collection, 
and the large majority were already well known to 
science. It was from the hills that the rarer and 
unknown species might be expected. With this 
object in view, Grant crossed over to the Kapare on 
3rd November, and on the afternoon of the second 
day pitched his camp just within the foothills of 
Tapiro Mountain, from whence he and his men could 
collect to a height of 2000 feet or more, and return 
on the same day. Their position was one to be 
envied, comfortably settled as they were amidst the 
most exquisite scenery, with the main river in front 
roaring through a canon of cliffs, a stream of crystal 
clearness running in just to the north, and with 
the precipitous crags and spurs of Tapiro Mountain 
directly behind. During their stay here several new 
species of birds were secured, and a few rats and such 
small fry added to the mammal collection. 

It was while thus employed that a regular and 
well-defined trail was discovered on the crest of the 
main spur which, when followed up, was found to 



THE HOME OF THE PYGMIES 

lead to Wambirimi, the village we had so long been 
desirous of entering, and the principal home of the 
pygmies discovered many months before. Grant's entry 
into the square, formed by the first group of huts, was 
not opposed, but he was clearly led to understand by the 
men there found that no welcome would be accorded if 
he attempted to establish himself in their midst. He 
saw no women or children, and after taking a photo- 
graph of one of the huts was escorted back to his camp, 
where a small amount of trading was done. 

On receipt of this news and hearing that the road 
was immeasurably superior to the one we had dis- 
covered during the previous March, Marshall and 
I determined to sleep in the midst of the pygmies, 
examine them in their homes, and if possible take 
measurements and photographs. By spending a 
couple of nights in the village itself we fondly hoped 
that their womenfolk would be compelled to show 
themselves, and that, when they had once lost their 
shyness, they would move about amongst us as freely 
as the women in the plains were accustomed to do. 
Our baggage was soon packed ; and to our great sur- 
prise, knowing how strongly they objected to enter 
the mountains, the Parimau men at once volunteered 
to carry the loads to the village. This pleased us 
immensely, as we reasoned that the arrival of the 
plainsmen would be likely to cause much less fear 
amongst the hillmen than if a troop of brightly-clothed 
strangers were suddenly to appear in their midst. 

The next morning we set forth. Eight months 
had elapsed since I had last seen the Kapare River, 
and since then the wet season had sent its floods 
swirling down the valley. The old familiar land- 
marks had vanished or were so altered as to be almost 

247 



EFFECTS OF THE FLOODS 

unrecognisable. Hundred of acres of ancient forest 
land, bearing trees of great age, had entirely dis- 
appeared, giving place to stony stretches of river bed, 
through which meandered rivulets, or where lay pools 
of muddy water. The old three-acre camping ground, 
together with the log-hut, built with so much toil, 
and the first two miles of the road, had completely 
vanished, and only the cut stumps of the overgrown 
trail beyond showed where so many days of labour 
had been expended. On the second day we reached 
Grant's camp, and on the third set forth on the final 
climb to the village of Wambirimi, or, as some of the 
men called it, Wambirimerbiri. 

The general direction of the new advance was not 
across the crystal stream as we had imagined, but directly 
up the narrow ravine out of which it flowed. The 
ascent commenced at once along a faintly-marked track. 
At times it wound along razor-backed ridges, at others 
dropped into dark and gloomy ravines, but was always 
compressed into the smallest dimensions by the all- 
enveloping jungle. 

Not a sound broke the silence of the forest as the 
long thin line of carriers gradually crept upwards. 
Animal life we had certainly expected to find, but 
except for the call of a solitary bird of paradise, and 
the sight of a large snake of exquisite emerald hue 
which passed quietly through the line of men and into 
the undergrowth beyond, not a sound broke the oppres- 
sing stillness, nor was there a movement to show that 
man or beast inhabited the land. But that life did 
exist in both these forms was proved by the numerous 
small noose traps set at intervals along either side of 
the path, but of such small size as to be incapable of 
holding anything more formidable than a rat. 

248 



NERVOUS CARRIERS 

The carriers, always depressed when far from home, 
became more and more affected as the minutes passed, 
until complete silence reigned throughout the party. 
A steady climb of three hours brought us to a wooded 
knoll, through the trees of which a glimpse of the 
cleared and cultivated area was obtained, showing how 
close we were to our goal. Still not a sound. The 
signs of nervousness amongst the carriers increased, 
for by now they realised that they had broken the 
tribal rule and had crossed into forbidden ground, and 
to make matters worse were unarmed, since by our 
orders their spears, bows, and arrows had been left at 
the foot of the hill. Had we not been with them it 
is certain that they never would have ventured into 
the district, armed or unarmed. To judge by their 
stealthy movements I verily believe they thought 
we were about to raid the small men, but what they 
thought we wanted to steal from the pygmies, unless 
it was their women, I cannot imagine. However, 
to show them that our intentions were friendly, and 
that no surprise attack was to be undertaken, Marshall 
gave a hail with all the strength of his lungs, a pro- 
ceeding which acted as a galvanic shock to the carriers 
and brought a babel of cries from the cultivated ground 
opposite. 

Instead of pushing on at once, we halted for a 
few minutes to show the pygmies that our intentions 
were peaceful, and to give them time to collect their 
scattered wits. The moments passed rapidly while 
listening to the pandemonium which had broken loose 
on the hillside, and watching the little men appear 
amongst their crops and come bounding down the hill- 
side towards the threatened flank. To the excited 
cries of the Wambirimi men were added the shrill 

249 



EXCITED PYGMIES 

shrieks of the women as they hurried from their fields 
into the hidden recesses of the forest. Feeling that 
the necessities of etiquette had been fulfilled, we pressed 
forward rapidly and entered upon the col which links 
the plantation to the village. 

Down the mountain sides the hillmen converged 
from all directions, racing along the felled trees and 
across the tangled growth, shouting at the tops of their 
voices, and fitting arrows to their bows as they ran. 
Our own men, although unarmed, split into three parties, 
for what purpose I am not sure, but which gave to the 
force the appearance of advanced and flank guards. 
Any forcible opposition which may have been intended 
by the hillmen was nullified by Peau 1 and his comrades 
pressing so rapidly and determinedly forward, as to 
actually surround the pygmies before they could make 
up their minds to commence hostilities, and to close 
upon them in such a way as to prevent the effectual 
use of their weapons should they suddenly decide to 
resist the invader. It was a pretty manoeuvre. 

An excited confab followed, Peau doing his best 
to impress upon the pgymies that we were not a 
raiding party, and that our only desire was to stay the 
night upon the mountain-side, somewhere about the 
spot where we then were. The terrified little men did 
not like it at all, but could see no way out of the 
trouble. We were evidently not afraid of them, and 
as, after much fitting of the arrows into the bows and 
several threats to shoot, we still remained where we 
were, they were compelled to make the best of a bad 
job and let us stay. To excite their avarice, we made the 
most of the fact that in the boxes were concealed beads, 
knives, and cloth, and such goods as we knew they 

1 The regular go-between. 



longed to possess, until at length they began to think 
that our coming might considerably enrich the village. 

To our surprise, instead of leaving us to our own 
resources and allowing the camp to be pitched there 
and then, they led the way to the village first seen by 
Grant, telling the big Papuans to follow on with the 
loads. This showed certain friendly feelings towards 
us, but from my point of view was marred by a dis- 
agreeable way the guide had, every few yards, of 
fitting an arrow into the how, drawing it to its full 
extent and pointing it straight at the middle of my 
body. The action was accompanied by a broad grin, 
so there was nothing to do but grin in return, although 
I well remember thinking at the time that it was one 
of the poorest kind of jokes I had ever seen. 

Within a few minutes we were in a small square 
surrounded by five huts, but were hurried through this 
up the slope of the hill to a second collection of nine 
huts which had been erected in the clearing of the 
forest and well out of sight of the first habitations. 
Two artificially constructed platforms of clay and mud, 
each about the size of a tennis court, were pointed out 
as the places upon which the tents could be pitched, the 
upper one of which we chose, to the accompaniment of 
loud protests from the owners of the neighbouring huts. 
Their objections were overruled, and as they had no 
intention of living in such close proximity to strangers, 
they had to clear out and take up a temporary abode 
elsewhere. 

Neither women nor children were to be seen, and 
although the hillmen had brought us to this place of 
their own accord, they showed evident misgivings as to 
our intentions, and never for a moment let go their 
bows and arrows, or lent a hand to move a load. They 

251 



CHURLISH HOSTS 

showed a churlish spirit in all their actions, and even 
refused to point out where water was to be found an 
unusual request in a country where it is always raining ; 
but the day happened to be fine, the hill steep, and the 
river hundreds of feet below. We did the best thing 
possible, took not the slightest notice of them, quietly 
pitched the tents, lit the fires, and settled ourselves 
down as if the place belonged to us. Seeing that their 
presence was disregarded, they gradually came to look 
upon us with more favourable eyes, and at length began 
talking and prying into our goods. A few beads judi- 
ciously expended worked wonders and awakened the 
desire for trade. 

During these preliminary manoeuvres groups of 
excited men were arriving from the more distant parts, 
panting from their exertions, and eager to hear what 
had happened. Many had not been seen before, and 
in these fear and curiosity fought for the premier place, 
their avaricious little eyes simply starting from their 
heads at the sight of beads and knives openly displayed 
so as to excite their cupidity. 

In age they ranged between eighteen and forty, and 
differed as much in appearance as in manners. The 
majority were well-developed and nourished, their thigh 
muscles being especially marked, the result of con- 
tinuous climbing in the mountains. In colour they 
were several shades fairer than the plainsmen, although 
in no instance did they show anything lighter than milk 
chocolate ; but as they were horribly* dirty, soot and 
dirt begrimed in the sheltered curves and hollows of 
their bodies, clean only over those more prominent 
parts which brushed against the wet foliage of the 
forest, .the exact shade was hard to determine. In the 
majority of cases the hair was coal black, but there were 

252 



PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 

now and again instances of very dark brown or even 
reddish brown. It was worn short, and took the form 
of frizzy curls, not pepper-corn. Many of the older 
men had long, thick black beards ; those of a grey hue 
were scarce and apparently not approved of, as in three 
instances at least they had been dyed a bright yellow. 
The nose was straight and broad, the eyes black, the 
jaw marked but not prognathous, the lips thick, and 
the general contour of the face oval. 

Both in dress and decoration they varied but little 
from those members of the tribe captured by us in the 
previous February. In front, supported by a string 
round the waist, stood out at a sharp angle from the 
body a straight or curved penis case, 8 to 17 inches in 
length, formed from some unknown gourd of a bright 
yellow colour, and occasionally decorated with a tuft of 
brown or white cuscus fur. 

Large and strong net bags of coarse string, inter- 
woven with a pattern of yellow fibre, are worn slung 
over one shoulder, and from the corner of which hang 
from one to as many as twenty boars' tusks, trophies 
of the chase, and highly prized by the owner. These 
tusks denote the prowess of the individual, very much 
in the same way as human scalps did in the old days of 
the Xorth American Indians. The bags contain the 
entire sum of their portable possessions, a roll or two 
of string for fishing purposes, a fire-stick, and a length 
of split rattan, Birds of Paradise plumes, and other 
odds and ends, all jealously guarded and never allowed 
out of the owner's possession. They paid Marshall and 
me the compliment of letting us look inside and handle 
the goods, but if anyone else tried to do the same, the 
bags were clasped to their sides in a vice-like grip and 
a string of guttural sounds poured from their lips. 

253 



HEAD-DRESSES 

Another bag of smaller size is suspended round the 
neck close up to the chin, where it is protected from 
the rain, and in this is kept tobacco, tinder, and dried 
leaves for use as cigarette papers. They are great 
smokers, and never seem quite at ease unless they are 
puffing their not ill-flavoured tobacco. 

Many wear earrings, generally composed of at least 
one string of the small black seeds of the wild banana, 
to which may be added a red seed or two, a wisp of 
cuscus fur, or any object particularly fancied, the whole 
collection being attached to a hole in the lobe of 
the ear. Now and again this fanciful ornament would 
be abandoned in favour of a plain, small and highly- 
polished gourd. 

Necklaces are fairly common and of great variety, 
but all most quaint. Some are formed of dozens of 
teeth or shoulder-blades of the wallaby, strung in rows ; 
others of the back teeth of the cuscus, or of white and 
red seeds, no particular pattern being ultra-fashionable. 

Head-dresses are not much favoured, and usually 
consist of a plain band of woven grass. Some, how- 
ever, are of decidedly striking design, One man, for 
instance, sported a circlet of over a hundred wallaby 
shoulder-blades, each with a small hole bored neatly 
through the centre; whilst another, of wild aspect, 
wore a cap of cassowary skin decorated with a crown 
of black feathers. Perhaps the quaintest of all was a 
cap of hundreds of pieces of black string (black from 
age and grease and not because of any particular fibre), 
tied together in a knot and hanging as a fringe over 
the face. The owner was decidedly bald, so that it 
might have been adopted as a wig. 

On the body itself there was very little, except in 
two instances when rattan was twisted round and round 

254 



PLAINSMAN AND PYGMY 

the stomach, possibly to act as a cuirass, a custom 
prevalent in other parts of the world. 

With their ever -ready bows and arrows, and 
absorbed in what was going on around them, they 
formed groups easy to study and photograph. From 
a cursory glance they gave one the impression of being 
on a lower scale to that of the plainsmen, yet in two 
instances at least they surpass them in intelligence and 
constructive power. The plainsmen from the foothills 
to the sea have words to denote the first and second 
numerals only, any addition to that number being 
shown by the fingers of the hand, and if these are in- 
sufficient, by including the toes. According to Grant, 
who questioned some of the men who visited his camp 
on the Kapare, the pygmies can count up to ten, a 
considerable advance in intelligence. 

The second marked difference is in the architecture 
of the houses. In the plains, the one and only kind of 
shelter excluding dancing halls is the primitive and 
temporary leaf hut, pitched on the ground. Amongst 
the Tapiro this gives place to a substantial wood build- 
ing erected on piles, the floor being some 10 feet 
above the ground. The house consists of one room 
12 to 15 feet square with a verandah in front 3 to 
5 feet broad, and sheltered from the rain by a far- 
projecting eve. The roof is formed of superimposed 
layers of fan-palm leaves, resting on rafters inclined 
at an acute angle. Entrance is effected, first to the 
verandah by a ladder of the crudest construction, and 
thence into the interior of the hut by a window, the 
sill of which is 2 to 3 feet above the level of the 
floor. The floor itself is made of split timber, laid as 
closely as possible, and upon this again are placed 
strips of flattened bark. Along the walls more bark 

255 



A STRUGGLE FOR EXISTENCE 

is fixed, thus excluding both wind and rain. To heat 
the interior fires are lit in a box of sand, let into a 
hole in the centre of the floor. No other furniture or 
decoration exists in any form, though it is possible 
that some small and precious articles may have been 
removed to the forest before we gained an entrance. 

In the village itself a few yellow pie dogs are to be 
seen, of the type common throughout New Guinea but 
possessing rather longer coats, due in all probability to 
the higher altitude at which they live. 

Much of the ground occupied by Wambirimi village 
has been artificially levelled, a kind of work that would 
never occur to the mind of the plainsman, or if it did 
would not be put into execution. 

The more one sees of these people, the more one 
realises that their lives are one long struggle for exist- 
ence. Precipitous mountains with deep and gloomy 
gorges surround them on either hand, every foot of 
ground clothed with the densest forest, with perpetual 
rain, with no wild fruit or edible roots, and flesh in any 
form scarce and hard to procure. Existence would be 
impossible were it not for the fact that a certain amount 
of the less precipitous land has been taken under culti- 
vation. For this purpose two clearings have been made, 
the larger of about a hundred and twenty acres, situated 
on the main hill four hundred or five hundred yards 
from the village, the other only in its earliest stages of 
development. One must see the ground to appreciate 
the amount of labour that has been expended in clear- 
ing away the great trees and vegetation with which it 
was at one time encumbered. When it is realised also 
that this has been accomplished solely with the aid of 
fire (a difficult operation in this wet climate), stone axes, 
and two implements fashioned out of a couple of small 

256 



ELUSIVE WOMEN 

pieces of hoop-iron fastened to bamboo handles, the 
magnitude of the task will be understood. Covering 
the clearing are sweet potatoes and taro, with here and 
there an isolated banana tree ; and on this poor fare, 
supplemented by an occasional taste of pig, wallaby and 
cuscus, these people subsist. 

To all outward appearances their fears as to our 
intentions were soon allayed, but this could only have 
been of a partial character, for, in spite of the fact that 
the heaviest bribes were offered, never once did we get 
a sight of a woman. Large butcher's knives were dis- 
played, eliciting gasps of admiration and longing, it 
being explained that these were expressly for those 
men who would induce a woman to show herself; and 
to our persuasions were added those of the plainsmen, 
yet all to no purpose. They were told distinctly that 
we only wanted just to look at their women-folk, and 
that they could go away immediately after they had 
shown themselves ; but they evidently did not believe 
us, or possibly feared that the plainsmen would seize and 
carry the women away, as it must be remembered that 
although women in the plains are so badly treated, yet 
they are scarce and much sought after, and a pygmy 
woman would probably be extremely popular. The old 
men formed the obstructionist party ; the young ones 
by themselves might have yielded to our temptations. 
In fact they actually said that several of the women had 
approached and from the screen of the jungle had 
taken a surreptitious look at us, but that the sight of 
our clothing had been too much for their feelings, and 
that they had beaten a precipitate flight. " If we would 
only remove our clothes and appear naked like them," 
they explained, " there would be little doubt that the 
women could be persuaded to return." The conditions 

257 R 



THE PYGMIES MEASURED 

imposed were too stringent, and besides, we were not at 
all sure that they would fulfil their part of the bargain. 
The men showed no fear of the camera and the cine- 
matograph, but then they had not the remotest idea of 
what was happening. What could these little savages 
have thought of our goings on? Picture the scene. 
Two weird creatures in the form of man, but as different 
as light from darkness from anything they had ever 
dreamt of, enter their midst, pitch their peculiar form 
of house just where it suits them, and without delay 
proceed to place their hosts in groups, all the time 
gazing stolidly at a black box ; then make them shoot 
arrows, run up and down hill, carry on other silly and 
aimless pranks, and after each performance freely dis- 
tribute priceless beads. We would have given much 
that night to have been able to listen to and understand 
their conjectures and reasonings. 

Our next proceeding must have been equally sur- 
prising and certainly more terrifying, for every man 
who could be persuaded to step forth was thoroughly 
measured with the standard and with the craniometer, 
an operation so appalling that large strips of cloth had 
to be offered before they could be tempted to surrender 
their bodies into the hands of the Inquisitors. Some of 
the older men, indeed, trembled so violently during the 
process that they were hardly capable of remaining on 
their feet. But as soon as it was realised that this 
operation was painless and that no ill effects followed, 
they gained courage, and after exchanging a few articles 
of dress for beads and finding that they were promptly 
paid, they placed themselves unreservedly in our hands, 
and at the same time developed an inordinate desire to 
dispose of the whole of their worldly goods. A peculiar 
thing amongst the latter was a Jew's harp, fashioned 

258 



SUPERIOR PLAIXSMEN 

from a piece of split bamboo and worked by a string, 
the notes produced being very similar to those elicited 
by the common European kind. 

With the exception of boars' tushes and the more 
finely carved arrows, the Tapiro men were willing 
to exchange their possessions at what seemed to us 
ridiculously low rates a fragment of cloth, a few beads, 
&c. The greater difficulty experienced in obtaining 
tushes and arrows was apparently due to the fact that 
the former were regarded as trophies of the chase, and 
difficult to come by, while the better class of arrows 
could only have been produced after much labour, as 
they were fashioned from the hardest of wood and were 
artistically carved. The decoration upon the weapons 
often showed great skill and ingenuity, though the tools 
used in the work w r ere merely sharpened shells or chips 
of flint. The arrow-heads were of four kinds, each being 
of the shape most suitable for bringing down pig, casso- 
wary, bird, or fish, and on none were there any traces 
of poison. 

It was easy to see that not much love was lost be- 
tween the hillmen and the plainsmen. The latter, as 
members of our train, adopted a very superior attitude, 
helping themselves to whatever they fancied and, until 
we put a stop to it, pulling down the walls of the houses 
for firewood, cutting off branches of bananas, and in 
every way making themselves quite at home and ex- 
ceedingly objectionable. Conversation between the two 
races was carried on with difficulty, as few of either 
party understood in the least the language of the other. 
Previous to our arrival in the country, communication 
and trading was maintained by one man who travelled 
backwards and forwards when tobacco was wanted, dogs 
to be bought, or any other exchange to be made. 

259 



INTERMARRIAGE 

Now and again, I believe, they intermarry, for one 
Parimau man certainly carried pygmy blood in his 
veins, and was the one and only carrier received with 
any show of affection by the hillmen. Similarly, two 
of the pygmies appeared more closely related to the 
plainsmen than to the people with whom they were 
living, noticeably in respect to height, build, and facial 
expression. The Parimau women were very fond of 
the first pygmy captured in the Kapare River, and gave 
him such a good time that he was induced on two or 
three occasions to come to Parimau, when they would 
kiss and pet him, make him stay with them for the 
night, and then rob him in the morning. When he 
stormed and raved at the loss of his knife or some other 
precious article, they simply laughed in his face, and if 
that made him choke with rage they would fondle and 
pet him again until peace was restored. 

The hillmen sell tobacco to the plainsmen, taking 
dogs and shells in exchange. During the present visit 
home-grown tobacco was scarce, so that a small supply 
of the common Java variety, which we had with us, 
was doubly welcome. Tobacco is always smoked in the 
form of cigarettes, but in a rather novel manner. The 
tobacco is rolled up in a dry leaf and, to make the 
covering more pliable, is warmed for a few moments 
over the fire. One end is lighted, the other closed with 
the thumb and finger, and the centre of the cigarette is 
placed between the lips, the smoke being drawn from 
the middle through the crack formed by the folding 
leaf; when partly consumed, the end is placed in the 
mouth and finished in the usual way. Only one pipe 
did we see. It was made from a single piece of hard 
wood, short and stumpy, and the bowl a prolongation 
of the stem, so that the smoke passed in a straight line 
to the mouth. To our eyes it was crudely fashioned, 

260 



MY SUSPICIOUS GUIDE 

but with the primitive tools available must have taken 
the owner hours, if not days, of patient labour to carve. 

Throughout the afternoon of the second day no 
natives put in an appearance, and as there was little 
doing in camp, Peau and I strolled over to the cultivated 
land, on the way passing through the farther collection 
of huts. Something must have aroused the suspicions 
of my guide, as before he even reached the buildings 
he took on the stealthy tread of the hunter, crouching 
low and moving with the utmost caution. I just stared 
at him in astonishment, as to my eyes there was no- 
thing unusual in the country or in the huts. The closer 
he approached the more wary he became, until I found 
I was copying him, and became for the moment another 
savage. Now that I came to glance round with care, I 
realised that there was not a man to be seen anywhere, 
nor was a sound to be heard. Peau's quick eyes searched 
every corner, while in answer to my whispered ques- 
tionings his raised finger pointed, first to the overturned 
ladder of a hut, and then to a bag of fire-sticks and 
string lying on the ground in the open sufficient evi- 
dence to prove a hurried flight ! Passing quietly through 
the village to the cultivation beyond and up the hill- 
side he signalled to me to wait, while he crawled along 
a tree projecting over the crest, from whence the valley 
below could be seen. From my point of vantage, now 
that I sat still and listened, the excited chatter of many 
men could be heard in the ravine below, but too indis- 
tinct for anything to be understood even had I known 
the language. This murmur, however, was quite enough 
for Peau who, signalling me to follow, hurried back at 
his topmost speed to the tents and amongst his friends, 
where in the security of the camp he quickly regained 
his wonted calm. 

Marshall quite agreed with me that whatever was 

261 



A HOSTILE HEADMAN 

amiss was not of very serious import. Such proved 
to be the case, as within ten minutes the pygmies put 
in an appearance, strolling in by two's and three's, and 
proceeded to carry on in the same friendly way as on 
the previous day. As to why they had so completely 
deserted the village for the time being, and the reason 
for their precipitate flight from the farther huts, we 
were unable to fathom. 

Friendly is perhaps not quite the correct term, as 
though half a dozen or so of the keenest traders seemed 
highly delighted at the bargains they had made, there 
were others who would neither trade nor relinquish 
their weapons, and from whom it was impossible to get 
a smile or anything more than a look of tolerance. In 
one case, indeed, and that a particularly unfortunate one, 
for it was the headman of the village of Wambirimi, 
there was persistent and hostile obstruction. He was 
a particularly objectionable old man, maimed by some 
disease and with only one eye, and imbued with a 
special dislike for us. Had he kept silence it would 
not have mattered, but instead there poured forth an 
unceasing flow of remarks, pitched in a high and squeaky 
tone, which to us sounded nothing more or less than 
pure abuse. 

His word carried much weight, and I think that it 
was due to his animosity that the women were kept so 
well hidden. 

Far up the mountain side, thousands of feet above 
us, could be seen at dusk the camp fires of the women, 
an impregnable spot to which they had fled, and from 
which they would again flee were we to attempt a near 
approach. It did not require the repeated assertions of 
the pygmy men to make us believe that this would 
happen, or that it was futile to follow them unless they 
were willing to show themselves of their own accord. 

262 



OUR DEPARTURE 

It was evident that the women-folk had no intention of 
coming into our camp, and that the longer we stayed 
where we were the more would their suspicions be 
aroused. It could be seen that we had already over- 
stayed our welcome, and the deduction was drawn that 
it would be wiser to leave the place in peace and give 
them time to think over the considerate way in which 
they had been treated, so that in case another visit 
should be paid later on they might at length fall in 
with our wishes. 

On the following morning few were present to see 
us depart, and these were there only for the purpose 
of escorting us off the premises. Their curiosity was 
satiated. They had obtained some of our goods and 
learnt that we were harmless, and all they now desired 
was to see the last of us. On our side we had gained 
much. Careful and elaborate measurements of many 
men had been made as well as a large number of photo- 
graphs taken with the cinematograph and the ordinary 
camera, and in addition we had obtained many of their 
goods by exchange. As no quarrels or unpleasantness 
had occurred, it was hoped that the impression the visit 
had left on their minds was a pleasant one. 

So soon as the camp was packed ready for the return 
march, the pygmies uncouth behaviour became more 
evident, for abandoning all fear, they crowded round, 
grasping eagerly at everything offered, pushing and 
jostling one another, and even snatching the goods out 
of each other's hands. One old man to whom we had 
given some tobacco had it taken away from him, bit 
by bit, till nought remained. When trading on the 
previous day they would have nothing to do with 
looking-glasses, refusing to even look them, but now, 
when offered as free gifts, they fought amongst them- 
selves like a pack of wolves. 



MEASUREMENTS OF PYGMIES 

We were only escorted as far as the crest of the hill, 
and then, left to ourselves, we travelled back to the 
Kapare as fast as our carriers could move. Thence 
after packing up Grant's camp, the entire party set 
out for Parimau, reaching that place two days later 
(November 13th), thoroughly satisfied with our trip. 

For those of my readers who are interested in anthropology, a 
comparative list of the measurements taken during this and other 
journeys is attached, from which it will be found that the average 
height of the Tapiro pygmies was found to be 4 feet Sf inches, and 
that of the ordinary Papuan of the plains 5 feet 6| inches. Thirty 
men of each were measured, but I am inclined to think that if the 
whole of the Tapiro tribe were to be put under the standard measure 
the height would be found to be less by half an inch or more, as 
naturally enough only the bolder, and therefore stronger, men would 
trust themselves in our hands. 





Tapiro Pygmies. 


Parimau Men. 


Coast 
Tribes. 


European. 


Skin colour . 


Brown 


Dark brown 


Very dark 










brown 




Hair colour . 


Black and brown 


Black 


Black 




Hair on face . 


Plentiful 


Scanty 


Moderate 




body 


Scanty 


9) 


Plentiful 




Height of stature 


14:4-6 cms. 


166-4 cms. 


166*14 cms. 


167" 


Girth of chest 


79 


90 


92-1 


86-7 


Vertex of tragus 


12-3 


13-32 


13-3 


13-8 


Head length . 


17-71 


18-72 


18-73 


19-5 


Head breadth 


14-21 


14-4 


13-7 


15'5 


Face breadth . 


13-12 


13-44 


13-6 , 




Bigonial breadth 


11-38 


12-27 


11-83 




Face length . 


11-07 


11-88 


11-8 




Nose length . 


5-19 


5-38 


5-33 




breadth . 


4-2 


4-63 


4-57 




Interocular breadth 


3-2 


3-4 


3-4 




Nose . 


Straight, broad, 


Straight, broad, 


Straight 






flat 


flat 


broad, flat 




Nasal bridge . 
Lips 


Nearly absent 
Medium 


Slight 
Medium 


Slight 
Medium 




Prognathism . 


Absent 


Absent 


Absent 




Jaw angle 


Marked 


Marked 


Marked 




Chin 


Square, also 


Pointed 


Square 






pointed 








Shape of face . 
Prominence of 


Short, oval 
Medium 


Long oval 
Medium 


Long oval 
Medium 




cheek-bones 











264 



CHAPTER XIX 1 

Dwarfs and giants The Pygmy question Negritos and Negrillos Head- 
form Origin of Pygmies Various views An open question Pygmy 
culture Weapons Fire-making The use of stone Arts and crafts 
Decorative art Social and tribal organisation Status Antiquity 

DWARFS and giants of our own colour are fasci- 
nating in a side-show, but embarrassing in private 
life. We cannot meet them on an equal footing, and 
if our disapproval of the giant is mingled with respect, 
our pity for the dwarf is not free from a suspicion of 
contempt. The interest they excite is a tribute to the 
abnormal, which attracts by repulsion, A black dwarf 
of pygmy breed is, however, not a monstrosity. 

Men of science, and the public to a less extent, have 
long been interested in the differences in stature that 
are to be met with both within and between the 
races and peoples of mankind. The interest is partly 
scientific, partly human, and it may influence our atti- 
tude towards other nations so much as to receive 
popular expression. There is, for example, a tendency 
to associate low stature not only with physical defi- 
ciency, but with mental inferiority, and to look down 
upon those smaller than ourselves. For this reason, in 
part at least, the Japanese in their recent rapid advances 
have received the applause reserved for unexpected and 
surprising merit. They are " clever little fellows." 

Our concern in the present chapter is with peoples 
whose average stature is much lower than that of the 

1 This chapter is written by Dr. E. S. Harrison, D.Sc., F.BJLI. 

265 



THE PYGMY QUESTION 

Japanese, who are by no means dwarfs. Tribes of very 
small men of negroid aspect have long been known to 
exist in some tropical regions, and there is convincing 
evidence that the ancient Egyptians were familiar with 
the African type of these people. In more modern 
times our knowledge has been greatly extended, the 
discoveries being usually due in the first place to the 
zealous curiosity of the traveller and explorer. After 
the traveller follows the anthropologist, with more or 
less celerity according to the amenities of the environ- 
ment, and the newly discovered tribe is studied with an 
intensity which fails only to reveal its opinion of the 
investigators. Unfortunately for science, if not for them, 
the pygmies are shy and retiring people, living mainly 
in jungles not easily reached or penetrated, and there 
are very many gaps in the knowledge we have of them. 

In the case of the Tapiro of New Guinea, discovered 
by Captain Rawling and his colleagues, circumstances 
prevented anything but a preliminary survey, though 
the information gained is .sufficient to show that they 
fall into line with other pygmies scattered in small 
groups over a wide but discontinuous area of the earth's 
surface. Whether the line is genealogical or not 
gives ground for discussion. It is at any rate worth 
while to allow Captain Rawling to pause in his narra- 
tive, whilst we consider the bearings of the discovery 
of pygmies in this new locality. It is not essential 
that we should come to any conclusions as to the 
origin and significance of pygmy people in general, or 
the Tapiro in particular, but we may find sufficient 
evidence to convince us that there is an anthropological 
" pygmy question," not devoid of importance. 

Conspicuous amongst the physical characters of the 
Tapiro are the low stature, the woolly hair, the dark 

266 



NEGRITOS AND NEGRILLOS 

skin, and the broad head. To use the language of 
science, they are ulotrichous melanic brachycephals * of 
an average height of less than five feet. The same 
definition may be applied to certain pygmy tribes 
found in regions not far distant, and also in Central 
Africa. The former are usually called Negritos, and 
the latter are often spoken of as Negrillos. The 
Negrito group has hitherto included only the Anda- 
manese of the Andaman Islands, the Semang of parts 
of the Malay Peninsula, and the A eta of the Philip- 
pines. To these must now be added the pygmies of 
Dutch New Guinea, for which the only native name 
at present known is that of Tapiro. The Negrillos of 
Central Africa need not be subdivided for our present 
purposes, and the Bushman of South Africa, though 
probably allied to the Negrillos, must be left out of 
account altogether. The word pygmy will be used 
here with sole reference to the Negrillos and Negritos, 
the only dwarf peoples with woolly hair. 

Before passing on to more general aspects of the 
subject, something further must be said of the physical 
characters which are common to all our pygmies, and 
which have, indeed, led to the provisional association 
of the several types in one group. In their general 
aspect they have the appearance of negro dwarfs, a 
very important feature of resemblance to the true negro 
being in the nature of the hair. This is a valuable 
diagnostic character in the main classification of man- 
kind, since straight, wavy, and woolly hair respectively 
are typical of the chief races. Skin colour is less im- 

1 The head is not very broad, however, and some pygmies are mesatL 
cephalic, or medium-headed, if a middle term between broad and narrow is 
used. In any case it is a question of averages, individual narrow heads 
being sometimes met with. 

267 



HEAD-FORM 

portant, but some pygmies tend to have a lighter tint 
than that of the negroes ; there is, however, considerable 
diversity in both groups. The jaws of the pygmies do 
not show any special degree of protrusion (prognathism), 
though the lips are sometimes thick and prominent. 
The nose is usually sunken at the root, broad, and flat. 
Except for the absence of prognathism, there is a fairly 
close correspondence with the negroes, African and 
Oceanic, in these characters. It is when we apply to 
the pygmies the epithet " brachycephalic," or broad- 
headed, that we distinguish them most clearly from the 
negro, whose head is usually of such a shape as to call 
for the application of the term " dolichocephalic," or 
narrow-headed, to its possessor. That is to say, the 
head of the average pygmy, as seen from above, pre- 
sents an oval outline which is less elongated in proportion 
to its breadth than that of the negro's head from the 
same point of view. The difference can be expressed 
in figures, but these may be taken for granted. It 
is sufficient to say that this method of classifying 
heads and skulls, although not now regarded as the 
strongest crutch of the student of racial connections, is 
a support upon which he feels justified in bearing with 
considerable weight. Nothing is known as to the 
advantages, if any, which might accrue from a change 
in the shape of the head, nor have we any knowledge 
as to the causes or conditions which might bring this 
about. Even though we adhere to the orthodox belief 
in the relatively permanent character of the average 
head-form of races and peoples, the possibility of nar- 
row-headed negroes giving rise to broad-headed pygmies, 
or vice versa, cannot be excluded from our philosophy. 
There is not sufficient evidence to prove either alterna- 
tive, or disprove them both. 

268 



ORIGIN OF PYGMIES 

This brings us to the consideration of a theory as to 
the origin of pygmies which has had some casual vogue. 
The theory suggests that the pj T gmies are men of 
stunted growth, fallen from their high estate, and 
having their origin in unfavourable environments, where 
want and hardships have led to a reduction of stature. 
There are many arguments against this view, though it 
has an attractive air of simplicity. The anthropological 
pygmy question is not solved by being passed on to the 
physiologists and biologists. Insufficient food and other 
privations may dwarf the individual, body and soul, but 
it remains to be shown that a persistence of such con- 
ditions through many generations will produce a per- 
manently stunted race, whether capable or not of 
regaining full stature under the influence of a new 
and more benign environment. 

Even on the assumption that the inheritance of 
acquired characters has been a factor in evolution no 
small assumption there is no proof that the ancestors 
of the pygmies lived under conditions less favourable 
than their descendants. These are found at the present 
day in close proximity to full-sized peoples, and it does 
not appear that physically there is much to choose 
between pygmy and Papuan or African negro in any- 
thing but stature. Though they live the simple life, 
the pygmies show no signs of degeneracy, and they are 
known to be experts in their own line, which is that of 
hunting. If, also, a woolly-haired pygmy is in ultimate 
origin a dwarfed negro, he has succeeded in surviving in 
several regions where the negro is no longer found, and 
where he lives beside his reputed parent stock, as in 
Central Africa, he has changed his head-form and his 
skin-colour, as well as his stature, to an extent which 
may be stigmatised as unfilial. The reduction hypo- 

269 



VARIOUS VIEWS 

thesis is emphatically not proven, and the discovery 
of the Tapiro has added no evidence in its favour. The 
dark-coloured woolly-haired Papuans of New Guinea 
are dolichocephalic, and although they are of lower 
stature than the average African negro, they stand 
physically in much the same relation to the Tapiro as 
the African negroes do to the Negrillos. 

In rejecting the hypothesis of reduction by priva- 
tions, we do not exclude the possibility that the pygmy is 
a variation or a " sport," arising from the negroid stock 
as a result of unknown causes, whether environmental 
or physiological, or both. To take this view is to give 
ourselves over to the elusive pleasures of speculation, 
since, as in the allied hypothesis just considered, there 
is a lack of any real evidence. At some remote period 
in the history of man, it is possible that there was an 
ancestral stock which gave rise to both pygmies and 
negroes, or it may be that the latter are derived from 
early types of the former. Either of these views seems 
to be more in accordance with the existing relationships 
than any theory as to the relatively late origin of pygmy 
from negro or Papuan, whether by slow modification 
or by mutation. It would certainly appear that the 
pygmy is more closely allied to the negroid peoples 
than either of them to any other race, but further than 
this we can scarcely go. 

As to the significance of the physical features, and 
the distribution, of negroes and pygmies in connection 
with the wider problem of the origin of man, it is easier 
to be discursive than pertinent. Both are found on 
either side the Indian Ocean, the African negroes 
corresponding to the Oceanic negroes (i.e. the Papuans 
and the less hybrid of the Melanesians of the Western 
Pacific), and the Negrillos to the Negritos. It has 

270 



AX OPEN QUESTION 

been supposed, not without protests from America, 
that man arose from his simian precursor somewhere 
within a zone extending over the present area of dis- 
tribution of pygmies, negroids, and great apes, this 
zone including land which now lies beneath the waters 
of the Indian Ocean. The real evidence we have is 
certainly in favour of the old-world origin of man, and 
the probabilities support the view that it occurred in 
some part of the region indicated. 

Apart from the extinct Pithecanthropus, apparently 
an ape-like man or man-like ape, whose scanty remains 
were found in Java some years ago, the area has not, 
however, provided us with connecting links between 
man and the existing apes. The fossilised bones of 
some of these may lie below the surface of the land 
and yet be discovered, or in the earth beneath the 
waters and beyond our reach. In any case the modern 
pygmies and negroids, although physically in some 
points nearer to the existing apes than we are our- 
selves, do not approach so closely to the animal 
type as did our predecessors of Palaeolithic times in 
Europe. In many respects, indeed, the pygmies are 
more infantile than simian. Whatever importance we 
may attach to them they help us little in any attempt 
to realise the characters of our remote ancestors, and 
their position in any table of the general inter-relation- 
ships of the races of man must remain unsettled for the 
present. 

So far our labour of threshing has revealed a quantity 
of chaff and little grain. It may profit us to turn our 
attention to another and perhaps more fertile field, and in 
taking this course we may at least obtain a clearer view 
of the life and activities of the pygmy people, as well 
as of the position they occupy in the scale of culture. 

271 



PYGMY CULTURE 

Taken as a whole, the pygniies have not advanced 
beyond what is regarded as the lowest stage of recent 
human culture. They are primarily hunters, and 
collectors of such edible animal and plant food as may 
practically be had for the finding. When, as in a few 
instances, they have taken to the cultivation of food- 
plants, it has usually been in a half-hearted way, 
suggestive of distaste for the labour and lack of confi- 
dence in the result, like a poacher saddled with an 
allotment. The Tapiro, in this as in some other direc- 
tions, appear to have adopted alien customs with more 
thoroughness, since they grow sweet potatoes, taro, 
tobacco, and bananas, presumably with success. Their 
pile-dwellings, built on land, resemble those of the 
natives of some other parts of New Guinea, and are 
much superior to the wind screens and simple huts of 
most other pygmies. Since the practice of plant culti- 
vation tends to wean the hunter from his nomadic life, 
by providing a constant supply of food in one spot, the 
Tapiro have done well to model their houses on those 
of a more advanced people, and so fix themselves still 
more firmly to the soil. As far as can be judged from 
the facts available, it is in agriculture and architecture 
that the Tapiro have departed most widely from the 
practices of other pygmy groups, though they have not 
confined their borrowing to these activities. 

The use of the bow, which is a relatively advanced 
type of weapon, is common to all known pygmy peoples, 
and it has indeed been suggested that they were the 
original inventors of the bow and arrows. Spears, 
clubs, and shields are rare, and when they are used the 
possibility of the influence of other races cannot be 
excluded. The methods of fire-making practised by 
pygmies are all based on the production of heat by the 

272 



THE USE OF STOXE 

friction of one piece of wood on another. The fire-saw, 
the fire-plough, and the fire-drill are all in use, one or 
more of them, by the different groups, and a " fire- 
strap " method similar to that of the Tapiro is employed 
by the Semang of the Malay Peninsula ; this method is 
also used in Borneo, Assam, and by non-pygmy tribes 
in Xew Guinea, so that it cannot be regarded as a 
characteristic pygmy device, though it may be of 
pygmy origin. 

In the selection of the raw material for their tools 
and weapons the pygmies present us with an interesting 
example of the simplicity with which efficiency may 
be achieved. Our studies of the early history of man 
in Western Europe tend to imbue us with the idea 
that in the absence of metal many of the tools and 
weapons of backward races must be of stone, or 
provided with stone points and blades. It is by a 
consideration of the simple appliances of the pygmy 
peoples that we arrive at the conclusion that stone is 
by no means essential to primitive man. In tropical 
regions at least, wood, bamboo, bone, and shell can 
provide all that is needful for the hunter, and the use 
of stone by the pygmies is practically confined to the 
application, for certain purposes, of hammer-stones and 
of flakes and splinters such as may be obtained with a 
minimum of labour and skill. They do not make, and 
it is not probable that they have ever made, the stone 
axe-heads, knives, and arrow-heads which are charac- 
teristic of many advanced stone-age peoples, ancient 
and modern, and they do not even get so far as to chip 
stone into implements comparable with those of the 
men of the European Palaeolithic Age. The pygmies 
are in an " age " of wood, bone, and shell, and if some 
of them, such as the Andamanese, make use of iron, it 

273 a 



ARTS AND CRAFTS 

is only as a borrowed material, foreign to their own 
culture. The Tapiro appear to have an axe and per- 
haps other tools with iron blades, but whilst the axe 
as a tool is no doubt derived from that of the Papuans, 
the material for the blades must be introduced in the 
course of trade and traffic. The Papuans themselves 
are in their age of stone, though they show no reluctance 
to adopt the iron of more advanced races. 

In their arts and crafts the pygmies maintain the 
simplicity which is characteristic of their life in general 
No spinning or weaving is practised, and the art of 
pottery-making is only known in one or two instances. 
Clothing is at a discount, but in the case of the women 
very rarely entirely absent, and not always wanting 
in the men. Even the ornamentation of the person, 
whether by means of necklets and other "jewellery 55 
or by painting and tattooing, is not highly developed, 
though considerable variation is found amongst the 
different groups. The Tapiro, for example, appear to 
be more than usually addicted to the display of orna- 
ments, though they do not scarify or tattoo the skin. 

True and indigenous musical instruments are prob- 
ably wanting amongst the pygmies, and are represented 
by such time-beating instruments as the curved wooden 
board of the Andamanese, kicked with the heel as an 
accompaniment to native dances. The " Jew's harp" 
of the Tapiro is no doubt borrowed from their neigh- 
bours. Decorative art is at a low level in most cases, 
its highest development being found amongst the 
Semang, in close association with a belief in magic ; in 
this group patterns of considerable complexity, chiefly 
of a geometrical character, are incised on bamboo 
quivers, blow-tubes, combs, &c., and have the virtue 
xrf warding off dangers and disease, or ensuring a full 



SOCIAL ORGANISATION 

bag to the hunter. The Andamanese practise a kind 
of painting with liquid clay or coloured wax, but the 
designs are geometrical and undeveloped. We know 
very little as yet of the decorative art of the Tapiro, 
though the carvings on the arrows have a general 
similarity to geometrical designs found on some Papuan 
arrows. On the whole, the material culture of the 
Tapiro, even so far as it is at present known, appears 
to have been very considerably affected by that of 
other New Guinea peoples. 

We have no information as to the manners and 
customs, and the social or tribal organisation of the 
Tapiro, but if they are in agreement with other pygmy 
groups there will be no departure from the prevailing 
simplicity. Amongst these, totemism and clan systems 
are wanting or rudimentary, hereditary chieftainship is 
apparently unknown, and the social groups partake of 
the nature of family associations, the villages, if such 
exist, being always small. There is no ancestor cult 
or ceremonial spirit- worship, but in some cases at least 
a belief in supernatural beings is known to prevail, and 
there may even be recognition of a supreme deity. 
Monogamy is usual, and women are not ill-treated. 
Death appears to be regarded as a natural event, and 
not, as in many other instances, as a result of witch- 
craft or sorcery. Burial of the dead in the ground 
is customary, though platform and tree burial are 
occasionally practised in certain groups. 

In spite of the smallness of their numbers, and their 
insignificance in comparison with the larger and more 
powerful communities by which they are in most cases 
surrounded, there is no reason to suppose that the 
pygmies are despised or despicable. They live on good 
terms with their bigger neighbours, whether negro or 

275 



STATUS 

other, and trade with them apparently on an equal 
footing. Their habits are usually such as to render 
warfare against them unsuccessful and unprofitable, 
but it is probable that esteem is not lacking in the 
toleration accorded to them. In some cases it is known 
that they consider themselves the original owners of 
the territory they occupy and of the surrounding 
country, and their claim is admitted academically at 
least by their neighbours. Their form of speech is 
usually closely related to that of neighbouring races, 
and as far as is known there is no pygmy language 
which presents especially primitive features. 

There is no evidence that their low stature is asso- 
ciated with defective mental development, and they 
have in some cases been found to be at least as bright 
and teachable as other lower races of full size. They 
succeed in maintaining their independence, and they are 
notably skilful in the chase, since the tiger, the rhino- 
ceros, the elephant, and the buffalo, in Asia or Africa as 
the case may be, are attacked and overmatched by their 
agility and cunning. Morally they show no signs of 
degradation, and, indeed, as far as the facts are known 
they appear to be on a relatively high level in this 
respect. 

In this brief review of the state of culture of the 
pygmy peoples much has been omitted, and the parti- 
cular has been submerged in the general, with a conse- 
quent loss of precision. Little has been said as to the 
intermixture that has taken place with other races, 
though this has had important effects on both sides. It 
has long been suggested that there is evidence of a 
pygmy strain in some of the inhabitants of New Guinea, 
and with the discovery of the Tapiro the postulated 
Negrito influence has been shown to exist in reality. 

276 



ANTIQUITY 

Recently, also, Williamson has put forward the view that 
the Mafulu and some neighbouring tribes of British 
New Guinea are a mixture of Negritos, Papuans, and 
Papuo-Melanesians. 

If we endeavour to arrive at conclusions as to the 
antiquity of the pygmy peoples and their inter-relation- 
ships amongst themselves, we find firmer ground than 
when we attempt to discuss their origin and their rela- 
tionships with other races. It is scarcely possible to 
avoid the conclusion that the Andamanese, the Semang, 
the Aeta, and the Tapiro form one race, more or less 
contaminated in the different localities. The same must 
be said of the various Negrillo tribes of Africa, and we 
thus assert that there is justification for the classifi- 
cation of the pygmy tribes into two main groups. That 
these two groups are closely allied is highly probable, 
and in this case there is a pygmy race. Whether we 
speak of this race as a whole, or confine ourselves non- 
com mittally to the Negritos and Negrillos as two estab- 
lished groups, we are justified in the provisional belief 
that we are dealing with the scattered and reduced rem- 
nants of an ancient race (or of two races), whose former 
wide territory has been invaded and annexed, in some 
cases many times over. They have been swept away 
into obscurity by a succession of alien brooms. The 
material and social culture of the pygmies bears a 
primitive stamp, suggestive of persistence since the 
infancy of man, and they appeal to us as true aborigines 
wherever they are found. Who or what came before 
them we are at liberty to conjecture, bearing always 
in mind that in their physical structure they are 
practically as far removed from the apes as we are 
ourselves. 

In conclusion, the definite record of pygmies in New 

277 



VALUE OF THE DISCOVERY 

Guinea is an event of great importance, and all anthro- 
pologists will be grateful to this expedition and its 
leaders. The discovery does not solve the pygmy 
problem, but it provides additional clues and also 
throws light upon the riddles of racial admixture in 
New Guinea. Further investigations are not likely to 
lead to disappointment, though new questions and new 
difficulties will no doubt arise. It is, however, no 
cause for regret that discoveries in science, like social 
revolutions, open up more problems than they solve. 

H. S. H. 



278 



CHAPTER XX 

Return to the coast No cooliesA fine dancing hall Native music- 
Dancing The tocsin of war A false alarm A peaceful time Myriads 
of crabs Native children Childrens' games Methods of fishing- 
Brush turkey 



end of November. With the exception of 
JL adding specimens to the zoological collection, it 
must be remembered that at this period the expedi- 
tion was " marking time/' To all intents and purposes 
coolie transport was non-existent, and it was useless to 
hazard a guess as to the time when a fresh supply would 
be obtained, seeing that Goodfellow, suffering from 
malaria and beri-beri, had departed by a ship which 
called on 5th October, and it was doubtful as to when he 
would be in a fit state to recruit new men. The time of 
engagement of the few remaining coolies was nearly at 
an end and, in order to husband our advanced stores 
everyone, with the exception of Grant and an escort, 
moved back to Wakatimi. Shortridge was likewise 
seriously ill, fever having again attacked him upon his 
return from Australia. He did his best to conceal his 
illness, but it was manifest that he could no longer 
stay in the country, and must leave by the first boat. 

On the way down seventeen canoes were passed, 
travelling in a compact mass and filled with those who, 
a month previously, had fled from Parimau to escape 
the floods. They seemed much pleased with themselves 
and begged us to return, the mothers showing with 
pride their last born, whilst Wollaston's patients exhi- 

279 



COOLIES 

bited their healed wounds, caused principally by the 
steel axes and knives which were usually wielded with 
more enthusiasm than discretion. Their wealth of axes 
and knives had bred in them a feeling of superiority 
over the coast people, and had encouraged them to 
cross the dividing of their tribes and camp on the land 
of their enemies. The Wakatimi people at the mouth of 
the river were either too timid or too engrossed in their 
pursuits to resist the invasion, but that the raiders antici- 
pated reprisals was evident to judge from the scouting 
canoes in the rear and the close formation adopted. 

Early in December the relief ship arrived, but to 
our intense disappointment without bringing a single 
coolie, and the only information we could obtain was to 
the effect that a fresh lot might be expected before 
Christmas Day. 

There was no help for it ; we had to wait and fill in 
the time as best we could and prepare, as far as possible, 
for the advent of the men. The survivors of our last 
detachment were placed on board, with the exception of 
two who still wished to stay with us, as they had gambled 
away the whole of their pay, and were afraid to return 
to their homes without a penny in their pockets. We 
were sorry to lose them, for they had worked well and 
had undergone much hardship since joining the expedi- 
tion eight months previously. They had been recruited 
mainly from the island of Buton, from whence come, 
with the exception of the Dyaks of Borneo, the best 
men to be found in the Dutch East Indies. 

Shortridge and Wollaston likewise sailed, the former 
for England, the latter on a visit to the Utakwa and 
Island rivers where Dutch expeditions were then at 
work, and from thence to Merauke, the chief Dutch 
settlement in the Possession. 

280 



A FINE DANCING HALL 

Marshall and I, left to our own resources, moved to 
the coast and pitched camp on the seashore close to the 
village of Atabo. Our new neighbours proved less 
interesting than those of Parimau, more sulky in their 
manners and more grasping in their dealings. Both 
this village and Taroke opposite had grown considerably 
in size, and a fine dancing hall, by far the largest build- 
ing we had yet seen, had been erected. Made of mat- 
ting, it had a length of fifty feet, a width of fifteen and 
a height of eighteen feet. The interior was completely 
bare, except for half a dozen fireplaces round the sides, 
and for decorative purposes strings of hanging grass 
stretched from wall to wall. Five doorways gave 
entrance to a floor of white sand. It was altogether an 
ideal place in which to dance and sing, pastimes beloved 
of the native ; and not only by the native, but much 
appreciated by us. 

Among the happiest recollections of our sojourn in 
New Guinea remain the memories of concerts begun 
in the evening and often carried on throughout the live- 
long night. The music, whether associated with funeral 
rites or festivities, was invariably pleasing to the ear, and 
most charming when wafted across the still waters of 
the lagoon. To the accompaniment of a single drum, 
or a very orchestra of drums, supported by the deep- 
toned hum of the chorus, the vocalist extolled the 
pleasures of life, the joys of the chase, the thrill of 
the battle and, if we had been liberal in distributing the 
wages of the day, the perfection of our humble selves. 
He sat cross-legged, beidecked in a head-dress of plumes 
of the Greater Bird of Paradise, facing the drummers 
and surrounded by the entire male population of the 
village, affording as pleasing a sight to the eye as the 
chant was to the ear. 

281 



NATIVE MUSIC 

The tunes were varied and harmonious, to which 
the chorus imparted a touch of savagery which did not 
detract in the least from the perfection of the whole. 
Each verse concluded with a chorus which rose an 
octave and finished with a bark like that of a dog, given 
in perfect unison. For hours on end was this carried 
on, one singer giving place to another until the night 
sped by in a ceaseless flow of melody. Attempts were 
made to place their music on record, but without much 
success, not that the tune itself was hard to master, but 
that it was found impossible to obtain a grip of the 
chorus reinforcement. Now and again three or four 
vocalists would perform together, their plumes waving 
in the air and affording one of the prettiest sights 
imaginable. 

Women are never allowed to add their voices to 
those of the men ; in fact, they are rarely heard at all 
unless they are abusing one another or telling their 
masters what they think of them. In place of singing, 
they are permitted to dance, in which form of amuse- 
ment the men take no part, regarding it as much be- 
neath their dignity, but assist in so far that they wield 
the drums. The musicians, facing inwards and with 
bodies bent, slowly advance and retire keeping time 
with a stick or, if the performance is being carried out 
in darkness, then with a flaming torch. The women 
are drawn up in rows and bedecked in all their finery, 
special care being taken to adopt a light and feathery 
form of skirt made of bark-cloth or leaves ; or, as it 
so often occurred when in our presence, of a sheet of 
the Daily Mail, the most popular of all dresses. The 
dancing was to us both uninteresting and monotonous, 
and consisted merely of as little shuffling of the feet as is 
compatible with the maximum undulatory movements 

282 




A DANCING HALL 

Erected at the mouth of tbe Mimtka River. 




TAPIRO PYGMIES 

Seated upon the roots of a tree felled by a stone axe, and discussing the situation. 



THE TOCSIN OF WAR 

of the thighs and buttocks. The prima donna of Pari- 
mau was a comely wench, loving the plaudits of the 
crowd, and whose self-satisfied air when performing was 
worth going a mile to see. 

Soon after daybreak men would wander round to 
the camp and settle themselves in groups close by, 
partly to see what they could pick up in the way of 
food, and partly because they were bored with their 
existence and wanted something to talk about. At the 
same time the women and girls would troop away over 
the sands in search of shell fish. There was nothing to 
disturb the daily routine of the women's work or inter- 
fere with the habitual sloth of the men. 

The days dragged on with never-failing monotony, 
till one morning when the community was galvanised 
into life. We were sketching at the time, when down 
the river echoed a deep-toned " Wo," followed almost 
immediately by the appearance of two canoes, the 
paddlers working at a furious rate. In a moment the 
men were racing, some to their huts and others to their 
dug-outs. The tocsin of war had sounded ; no doubt 
a familiar feature previous to our arrival. Frantic efforts 
were made to launch the canoes left high and dry by 
the tide, and to collect clubs and spears from the houses. 
Everyone screamed their loudest. The women and 
children, shrieking and crying, made confusion worse 
confounded by tearing down the attap roofing of the 
huts, flinging their goods and chattels into the canoes 
and snatching up scraps of half-cooked food. Fires 
were scattered in the rush, the dogs howled and refused 
to be caught, then, leaving most of their goods behind 
and taking not the slightest notice of us wandering 
about in their midst, the whole population, including the 
maimed and sick, bundled into the boats, and paddled 

283 



A FALSE ALARM 

hurriedly away. The advance canoe had by now 
reached the village and the news they brought merely 
added fuel to the fire. All we could make out was 
that the Wania and Kamura men were advancing 
no one had time or breath to tell us more. Once on 
the water the people began to collect their scattered 
wits, and a plan of action was soon concocted. The 
old men, women and children paddled away from the 
threatened flank and out to sea, whilst the able-bodied, 
grasping spears and clubs, advanced upstream to the 
attack preceded by small swift canoes. Many youths 
doubled along the beach and joined forces with the 
men of Kokonau (a village to the west) who had 
likewise taken the alarm, so quickly does ill news 
travel. 

Marshall and I were now left in full possession of 
the village, with the exception of howling dogs and 
squealing pigs, frightened out of their wits by the 
unusual clamour. Every soul had vanished and we, 
knowing of no better place from whence to watch the 
coming fight, remained on the beach, intently listening 
for the blood-curdling yell which would be certain to 
herald the attack. The minutes sped by and nothing 
happened. Great was the disappointment therefore 
when, within an hour, the warriors returned, reporting 
the alarm as false, and the dominating thought in their 
minds now being that of hurrying on their wives to 
prepare the morning meal. No clue was obtained as to 
how the alarm had originated, nor did it appear to cause 
any further interest. Within two hours the village had 
been rebuilt, fires were burning, children playing around, 
women working, and the whole incident forgotten. 
Such must have been the alarms to which these people 
were subjected previous to our arrival, ever living in 

284 



A PEACEFUL TIME 

constant dread of their neighbours, each village being a 
law and a force unto itself. 

With the exception of this one small excitement, 
the days passed peacefully enough, thoroughly appreci- 
ated by us after the months of strenuous life in the 
stifling jungle. Here we had the soft warm breezes 
of the ocean, miles of firm white sand to walk upon, 
and almost rainless days. During the first two or three 
hours of the morning the mountains, though sixty to 
seventy miles distant, showed up hard and distinct 
against the sky, with the result that the survey work, 
oft repeated, was finally brought to completion. 

Pleasant indeed were those fine mornings, as, work 
over, we reclined beneath the casuarina trees, watched 
the waves lapping the sands at our feet, and listened 
to the preparations for a breakfast of fresh-run fish : 
meals to look back upon, for few fish can equal a per- 
fectly fresh grey mullet. Caught by the natives, brought 
straight to the tent, exchanged for a piece of cloth 
or a few beads, and put right on to the frying-pan, 
there was to us nothing to equal it in the world. Then, 
after the meal, it was pleasant to stroll along the sands 
and visit the various small fishing villages dotted about 
the coast, there to talk with the people and play with 
the children. Everyone says the natives of New 
Guinea are blood-thirsty savages; perhaps they are, 
but they were decent enough to us, and without 
them the days would have hung still more heavily 
on our hands. It is easy to imagine that three weeks 
of this life worked wonders with our debilitated systems 
and thoroughly prepared us for the final advance which 
daily loomed nearer. 

Collecting went on apace, the assistants kept at 
work from morn till night skinning and preparing birds, 

285 



MYRIADS OF CRABS 

while the native urchins ferreted around for all creep- 
ing creatures for the spirit bottles. At first the boys 
earned their pay easily, as whatever was brought was 
sure to be new and therefore required. All forms of 
life were abundant. On two occasions the sands for 
acres in extent became yellow with armies of long- 
legged crabs, all tramping westwards. These for amuse- 
ment we drove into a solid mass when, with one accord, 
to avoid our threatening gestures, they dug hurriedly, 
and in five seconds the thousands had vanished from sight. 
Another day violet-coloured crabs swarmed, then crabs 
with one immense yellow claw, others with one white 
claw, spotted crabs, rough crabs, smooth crabs an 
everlasting change. Little wonder that the ground- 
sharks are so numerous, with such an endless supply 
of their favourite food swarming over the bed of 
the sea. 

As a result of scrupulous fairness and prompt pay- 
ment for work done and purchases made, the Atabo 
men steadily improved in manners and willingness to 
please. The drunkards, realising that there was much 
to lose and nothing to gain by presenting themselves in 
a fuddled condition, kept clear of drink or postponed 
their debauches ; whilst the remainder, when no manual 
work was required of them, often assisted the boys to 
collect reptiles and insects, a task eminently suited to 
their lazy natures. 

Sometimes we would play with the children, who 
by this time had lost all fear of us. Instead of bolting 
for the shelter of their huts on the first view of the 
dreaded white men, they now strolled around close at 
hand, assisted in removing the baggage from the boats, or 
lent a hand where wanted. One chubby little girl in par- 
ticular never failed to meet us the moment we landed 

286 



CHILDREN'S GAMES 

from the canoe, and grasping a hand solemnly escorted 
us to the tent. Her father did his best to spoil her by 
telling her to ask for things, but she had not yet learned 
the sordid ways of the world, and having seen us 
safely home, would toddle quickly back to her hut. 

The children have few games by which to work off 
their animal spirits, and usually play at being " grown- 
ups," and, being almost amphibious in their habits, take 
part in every imaginable form of water sport. The 
more indulgent fathers will sometimes fashion miniature 
canoes for their offspring, in which exciting races and 
imaginary hunts take place. Failing a boat, a log will 
do just as well, the difficulty of balancing such a crank 
craft only adding to their pleasure. A boy may often 
be seen coming down stream on a rolling tree-trunk, 
walking round and round the stem as it turns over. 
Little dots who can hardly stand will take a great 
canoe out all by themselves, and with poles they can 
hardly lift steer her through the current. What they 
lack in strength they make up for in perseverance and 
skill. 

On shore one of the favourite amusements of the 
girls is to build miniature huts, inside which they creep, 
crowding and chattering together, supremely happy. 
For the boys there are the more manly sports of bow 
and arrow shooting, wrestling, and fighting with the 
feet. Puzzles with string are popular, many of the 
combinations being very similar to what one often 
sees in England. The paucity of games practised 
by the children is probably due to the scarcity of 
open ground, which is never to be found except on 
the seashore, or, to a very limited extent, at the bends 
of the rivers. 

While .the lazier men and the children were scour- 

287 



METHODS OF FISHING 

ing the jungle for reptiles and insects with which to 
enrich the zoological collection, those more energeti- 
cally inclined were fishing along the coast or in the 
creeks, where food may be obtained almost for the ask* 
ing. The native methods of catching fish are rough, 
but sufficiently effective in this place of plenty. To 
the smaller creeks the women proceed daily, and fixing 
string nets stretched on a bamboo bent into a circle 
across the mouths of the inlets when the tide is in, re- 
move the entrapped fish when the water falls. Each 
inlet has its owner, and when not in use is tabooed by 
the usual method of suspending a string across the 
mouth, from which hang bunches of leaves ; a custom 
common, I believe, throughout New Guinea. When 
the sign is up, none dare enter or fish therein. 

Our larger- sized fish-hooks were in much request, 
the smaller ones not finding favour, as the savage could 
never be taught that large fish could thus be held 
when hooked. Of native-made hooks there were various 
patterns, fashioned from shell or bamboo, many even 
having a barb. In the shallow waters along the coast 
upright nets are also fixed to entrap the simple fish. 
At other times, and more particularly in the deeper 
waters, spears and bows and arrows are in most request ; 
but for the finest form of sport nothing can equal the 
harpoon, excellent examples of which are in daily use. 
Some of the heads are of iron, but as metal is scarce, 
cane and bamboo are far more often used. The head is 
fixed to a wooden cup, into which is placed the shaft 
when required for use. From the head a strong rope 
passes loosely round the shaft, the end being held in the 
hand, so that when the fish is struck the head becomes 
detached from the handle, and the strain is at once taken 
by the rope. Many great fish, including sharks, are thus 

288 



THE BRUSH TURKEY 

captured. The sport must be grand, as the frail canoes 
require the most perfect management if disaster is not 
to result Given a powerful hard-fighting fish, a thin 
line and hook, a rickety canoe, and everything manu- 
factured by the sportsman himself, rough water and a 
dinner waiting, and what Britisher would not change 
places with the sea-coast Papuan, while the sport lasts ? 

Now and again a few black and white pigeons were 
shot by the Gurkhas, and until the supply ran out, the 
brush turkey, brown or black in colour and about the 
size of a chicken, could always be trusted to fill the 
larder. A peculiar characteristic of this turkey is that 
the hen lays an egg one-third her own size, so great in 
fact that unless seen it appears impossible for the body 
to hold it. Many were shot, and when brought into 
camp were found to be on the point of laying when 
killed, a slight squeeze being all that was required to 
discharge a meal sufficient for a hungry man. Another 
point worth noting is that the eggs are laid in the centre 
of a five or six-foot high mound of wet leaves, scraped 
together by the parent birds, and then left to incubate 
by the heat of fermentation.- When born the young 
work a way out of the stifling nest, and as soon as they 
are free are able to fly and fend for themselves. 

The bushes round the camp contained large numbers 
of an immense spider ; I know not its name, but it is 
well known in other parts of New Guinea. They have 
soft, balloon-like bodies, and spin a web of great strength. 
It has been commonly stated that these webs are utilised 
by the natives as fishing-nets, and that large fish are thus 
secured, but I am afraid this is an unsubstantiated yarn. 
Nevertheless, it is a fact that the children do take the 
webs off entire by slipping a ring of cane below, and 
that in them they will carry fish the size of sprats. 

289 T 



SKETCHING AND BATHING 

Some day, perhaps, this wonderful cord will be turned 
to a practical use. 

Thus peacefully employed the time passed slowly 
but surely by, and though many hours of the day were 
spent in sketching, bathing, and walking on the sands, 
the quiet life at length began to pall, for it was impos- 
sible to blind oneself to the fact that all this was a terrible 
waste of time, and an irretrievable loss of the only six 
fine weeks in the year. 



290 



CHAPTER XXI 

Unpromising coolies The problem of the hills Our motor boatDifficult 
navigation Interested motives A double murder Organising the 
advance The advance to the mountains Papuans and the axes 
A change in the river Crossing the Wataikwa A flooded river- 
Coal Rock formation Unpromising prospects An arduous climb 
A grand outlook 

SUCH excellent work had been put into the derelict 
motor boat by the Dutch pioneers that she was 
now able to take the water, and by dint of incessant 
bailing to keep afloat. To put the rusty and disabled 
engines into working order Marshall and I returned 
to Wakatimi on 22nd December. 

On the following day the relief ship Folk arrived 
from Merauke, having on board Wollaston and forty- 
eight coolies for us, and more for Cramer. Goodfellow 
had sufficiently recovered to collect these men, and 
had departed direct for England ; we were pleased to 
hear that, though still suffering from fever and beri- 
beri, he was steadily improving in health. From him, 
by order of the committee, I took over command of 
the expedition. 

It was a depressing sight to see the new coolies 
disembark, for instead of the fine men we had 
been expecting, they proved to be worse than any 
previously landed weedy and immature corner-boys 
and street loafers of Macassar. As much unused 
to forest life as they were to hard work, these ill- 
developed specimens of humanity jvere not the kind 
to enable us to set out on our final attempt to reach 

291 



PROBLEM OF THE HILLS 

the mountains along boulder-strewn rivers, over rocky 
ridges and through swampy jungle, with much pros- 
pect of success. 

By their behaviour whilst at Merauk^ it might 
have been supposed that they at any rate had a cer- 
tain amount of pluck in their compositions, as they 
attacked with knives the Dutch guard placed to keep 
the more riotous ones in order. When with us they 
were as peaceful as lambs, loathing work and going 
into hospital whenever they could be admitted. 

Still they had to be utilised, and any further delay 
would only add to our difficulties. 

Despite the unpromising nature of the transport, 
now was the time to push on if a real attempt was 
ever to be made to penetrate any distance into the 
mountains. 

It was nearly a year since we had first set foot in 
New Guinea, and our entire efforts up to now had taken 
us but seven marches to the headwaters of the Mimika, 
and four more by forest paths to the east. With the 
Mimika as the line of communication and supply it 
was very evident that, even with the finest transport 
force in the world, the feat of reaching the snows was 
beyond the power of any expedition. Still it was out 
of the question to acknowledge defeat, and we were 
determined not to leave the country until every pos- 
sible branch of the work had been accomplished. 
There remained, therefore, the problem of how to 
arrive at the highest accessible hills in the near vicinity 
of the Snow Mountains, where the ornithological and 
botanical collections might be enriched and the survey 
work completed. 

With this object in view, the food supplies, of 
which we had now at Wakatimi sufficient to last 

292 



OUR MOTOR BOAT 

the entire expedition three months, were transferred 
to Parimau as quickly as possible. In this work the 
motor boat was of great assistance. The three months' 
rest on the mud, and the daily soaking by the tide 
had so affected the engines that they could scarcely 
be moved by hand, much less be induced to run of 
their own accord. Cleaning and overhauling, how- 
ever, gradually improved them, and on the last day 
of the year the launch deigned to run for five minutes. 
On the first day of the new year she ran beautifully, 
and with the object of testing her powers, Wollaston 
and I took her out to sea, visiting the fishing villages 
and incidentally purchasing two canoes, of which we 
were in much need. From there we went on to the 
sources of the Watuka, a river we had believed to be 
an off-shoot of the Kapare, but which, despite the 
large amount of water brought down, now proved to 
be only a jungle-fed stream. These were two of the 
pleasantest days I spent in New Guinea, for to suc- 
ceed in making a broken-down and apparently useless 
machine run sweetly gives infinite pleasure and well 
repays the days of labour expended on it. 

With the assistance of the launch, two journeys 
sufficed to deposit at Parimau sufficient food supplies 
to last the entire force between seven and eight weeks. 
What perfect music it was to listen to the regular 
explosions in the cylinder, music which meant the 
saving of days of heart-breaking labour and incessant 
struggle against the current, taking all spirit out of 
the men, and responsible for as heavy a toll of victims 
as any forest march. Pleasant it was to sit quietly 
in the boat and watch the river banks slowly gliding 
past as march after march was completed, and to see 
the heavily-laden canoes ploughing their way through 

293 



DIFFICULT NAVIGATION 

the water. Many, however, had still to be worked 
up-stream in the old way, for on account of the turns 
and twists of the river the motor boat could not pull 
everything, and a grounding led to horrible confusion 
and the snapping of ropes and supports. 

Even the weather favoured us, far less rain falling 
than during January of the previous year ; this, added 
to the fact that the camping grounds were clearer of 
undergrowth and consequently less infested with mos- 
quitoes, helped to keep the men fit. 

One disadvantage, however, was that there was 
little water in the river, and the boat had to be 
bumped and driven over the tangled mass of wood 
which encumbered the bed. Consequently we could 
only travel half-way to Parimau in this luxurious 
idleness, the launch then returning to the base camp 
to bring up fresh relays. Ail further advance had to 
be made by canoe, for the river dwindled to a mere 
trickle joining the dark and silent pools, and the boats 
had to be hauled from one to the other by the united 
efforts of the entire force. Alligators, seldom of great 
size and not very numerous, basked on the sandy spits, 
but never made themselves objectionable, and on our 
approach would seek refuge in the deepest and darkest 
recesses of the undermined banks. As mile after 
mile was covered the difficulty of moving the heavily- 
laden canoes increased, and it seemed to us that every 
tree which had fallen during the past century had 
been placed in the very best position to block our 
way. Lifting the heavy canoes bodily over the 
trunks, forcing them between others, turning, twist- 
ing, and rocking, the slow progress was continued 
till on the fourth day we reached Parimau, assisted 
for the last few miles by natives, who, with the pros- 

294 



INTERESTED MOTIVES 

pect of receiving an axe in payment for carrying our 
goods forward, had assembled in considerable numbers. 
Though one would like to believe that these people 
had some real affection for us, unsullied by ulterior 
motives of obtaining axes, knives and cloth, I fear 
that their demonstrations of pleasure on seeing us again 
were assumed only on account of benefits to come. 

Marshall had preceded Wollaston and myself, and 
with the object of collecting carriers had already set off 
on a three days 5 trip to the village of Ibo, on the Tuaba 
River. His object was crowned with success, and he 
came in shortly after our arrival with a string of fifteen 
vociferous men, all, as usual, loudly proclaiming their 
willingness to carry our goods to the very summit of 
the topmost pinnacle. This talk we well understood 
and appreciated at its proper value ; the only question 
in our minds was whether a single man would turn up 
when the day of departure should actually arrive. 

On the 4th January a double murder was com- 
mitted in camp, the mandoer, or chief convict, being 
attacked by one of his own men. There was no evi- 
dence as to how the quarrel started, the two men being 
first noticed when feinting with their knives. They 
closed before anyone could interfere, and without any 
attempt at parrying, each drove his knife up to the 
hilt in his opponent's chest. They sank to the ground, 
and were carried, of all places in the world, into our 
dining-room, but it was at once evident that nothing 
could be done to save their lives. They expired within 
a few minutes and were buried on the evening of the 
same day. Their comrades displayed but little interest ; 
the use of the knife in the East is of too frequent 
occurrence to cause a lasting or even a temporary 
impression on the minds of these half-civilised men* 

295 



A DOUBLE MURDER 

The sergeant, who by the way was a foreigner, took 
charge of the burial ceremonials, and was evidently 
quite determined that for his part nothing should be 
lacking which the importance of the occasion demanded. 
Drawing his sword, and placing himself between the 
graves, he harangued the spectators, " Men," he said, 
" this day two servants of the Government have lost 
their lives at the hands of each other. Were they not 
both good men ? hein." " One man very bad man," 
chipped in an officious convict, but a glance from the 
offended sergeant made him wish that he had never 
spoken. "Whether they will both go to heaven I 
cannot say," exclaimed he, " but I think Allah," point- 
ing upwards with his sword, " will first purge them with 
fire. Take this as a lesson." Then, drawing himself 
up to his full height as befitted the occasion, he re- 
turned his sword with a clank to the scabbard, and as 
far as the public was concerned the ceremony was at an 
end. The sergeant, however, had not yet finished; 
returning to his hut he refreshed himself with a few 
glasses of gin, and played on the mouth-organ the 
national anthems of the three flags under which he had 
served. This terminated the funeral obsequies, and 
with the exception of the official report and the entry 
in the accounts, "To one bottle gin for disinfecting 
corpse," nothing remained to mark the sanguinary 
affair. Like many stories, this account probably owes 
much to embellishment. This incident was followed 
up by one of our own men stabbing another in the 
abdomen, but without fatal results. Temporary in- 
sanity was the excuse, but when the case was investi- 
gated the evidence was not such as to bear this out. 

In addition to the Ibo natives who had come over 
with Marshall, others had accompanied us up the river, 

296 



ORGANISING THE ADVANCE 

and to these were added during the next few days the 
stragglers who had been fishing on the Kapare River. 

On the llth January Cramer arrived with thirty-five 
men, the combined forces occupying every available 
foot of ground. 

One or two questions troubled us considerably. In 
the first place it was doubtful how many natives could 
be relied upon actually to give assistance ; and secondly, 
as everj 7 white man would be required in advance and 
would be fully occupied with his own particular work, 
it was difficult to arrange for the supervision of the trans- 
port in rear. This had to be worked in the most eco- 
nomical manner possible, and based on certain guiding 
principles : first, to hurry on the white men and their 
goods as fast and as far as possible; and second, to 
accumulate, without unnecessary delay, a sufficient 
food supply at the front. A coolie load weighed 
twenty-five Ibs., and it was calculated that ten days' 
supplies for a force of thirty men collected at some 
imaginary camp two days' march up the Iwaka River 
would be sufficient to enable us to accomplish our task. 
Unfortunately a considerable proportion of the force 
consisted of men who could not assist in the carrying 
of food-stuffs four Europeans, three Gurkhas, and two 
Dyak collectors, each of whom was burdened with a 
rifle or gun and a weapon wherewith to cut a way 
through the jungle. 

On the first day of the advance forty coolies only 
were available, eight having already completely broken 
down. To these must be added some Javanese con- 
victs and such Papuans as could be persuaded to lift 
a load. 

A definite plan was arranged, though it was obvious 
that everything was liable to alteration, as nothing was 

297 



ADVANCE TO THE MOUNTAINS 

known of our course beyond the first camp on the 
Iwaka, and it remained to be seen whether a ford could 
be found farther on in the mountains, and what unfore- 
seen obstacles lay ahead. The general lie of the river 
was unknown, but from native reports and from what 
could be seen of the mountains, we gathered that the 
river came from the east, beyond the ring of moun- 
tains we were anxious to ascend. If this should prove to 
be correct, there was no reason why, with ordinary luck, 
we should not be able to ascend Mount Godman, and 
at that considerable altitude collect specimens, and 
complete the survey of the country lying between that 
region and the snows. 

For the accomplishment of this task it was necessary 
that a ford should be found, or a crossing made to the 
opposite bank of the Iwaka within two days' march of 
the camp. Then after forming an advanced post and 
accumulating ten days' supplies, we might reasonably 
hope to climb the mountain and complete the work we 
wished to carry out. 

We moved forward in two parties. With the first 
went Marshall, Grant, two collectors, two Gurkhas, 
forty coolies and the same number of natives. In 
addition Cramer sent forward thirty of his men and 
three soldiers under the European sergeant. They 
formed by far the largest body of men we had been 
able to get together since our arrival a most cheering 
sight. The advance, however, had to be postponed for 
one day owing to the forest being rendered impassable 
by the rains which had started afresh. This was not 
altogether unexpected, for we had learnt by our experi- 
ence in the previous year that the only time at all 
suitable for travel is from the middle of October to the 
end of December or with luck to the middle of 

298 



ADVANCE TO THE MOUNTAINS 

January. It is possible that this is overestimating the 
length of the unfavourable period, for I am inclined to 
believe that 1910 was an exceptionally wet year, in 
which much of the old forest land was washed away 
and entire villages swept out of existence. 

The continual tramping forwards and backwards 
during the previous twelve months had transformed 
the formerly indistinct but fairly sound path leading 
to the Tuaba into a series of break-neck traps, in which 
a tangled mass of roots was hidden beneath a bog of 
black and sticky slime a road not at all to the liking 
of our new and soft-footed coolies from Macassar. 

In order that Grant and his Dyaks might be 
enabled to reach the highest ground attainable with as 
little delay as possible, Marshall, on arriving at the 
Wataikwa River, sent back the remainder of the coolies 
to Parimau, and taking with him a party of fifteen 
men, pushed across to the Iwaka, and advanced another 
two marches up the right bank. Since no tributaries 
were met with, by crossing which we might the more 
easily reach the longed-for ring of mountains, the forest 
was cleared at this point, and a permanent camp con- 
structed. Marshall then dismissed his Papuans, who 
returned to Parimau at full speed, received their axes 
and vanished for good. Cramer, Wollaston, and I 
started shortly afterwards, accompanied by a much 
smaller number of coolies, thirty-five convicts, and 
eight savages eager to earn the coveted axe-heads. 
The natives were laden to the utmost, as we knew that 
they would only make one journey, and felt justified in 
getting as much out of them as possible. On the 
other hand, the coolies were but lightly burdened, for 
by giving them small loads they would last all the 
longer. 

299 



PAPUANS AND THE AXES 

Pariraau camp was left as silent as the grave ; there 
remained only the sick and a solitary Gurkha, who 
had to take upon himself the combined duties of sentry 
and nurse. 

Just before our departure half a dozen of Marshall's 
Papuans arrived, and poured into our ears a pitiable tale 
of misfortune. Their careless wives, when paddling in 
separate canoes on the previous day, had all upset in one 
place or another, and every axe-head had been lost ; and 
as this was an accident, they said we would, no doubt, 
present them with others in their place. Much to 
their disgust this little plan did not meet w r ith the 
success anticipated, and they then asked to be taken 
on again for a fresh journey on the same conditions 
as before. However, the loads were already packed 
and their services were not required. They had acted 
their parts in this little play with considerable skill 
and appropriate facial expression, but it was a poorly- 
thought-out scheme, and with a little more care a very 
much better story might have been concocted. 

The crossing of the Tuaba proved an exciting busi- 
ness, and would probably not have been effected at all 
had not the Papuans taken upon themselves the whole 
management of the river transport. 

The Wataikwa was found to be in flood, and the 
island upon which the storehouse had been erected 
was in a most precarious position. Great changes had 
taken place since I last saw it, four months previous. 
Thirty yards of solid land then lay between us and the 
main stream, and on this had flourished numerous great 
trees of many years' growth. This land had vanished. 
The river, a foaming turbid torrent, now raced past 
within a yard of the hut so close indeed that on the 
preceding night one of the supporting poles had been 

300 



CROSSING THE WATAIKWA 

violently struck by a great log as it sped down-stream. 
The place was not at all to the liking of the Gurkha 
who had been left in charge, particularly as he was 
unable to swim, though swimming would not hare 
availed him much had the flood swept over the island, 
separated as it was from the mainland by a deep 
channel. In order that anxiety on this score should 
not prematurely age him, he was given permission to 
sleep for the future on the mainland, where Cramer's 
go-down was situated. The island itself had been 
occupied for six or seven months, and the dep6t con- 
sisted of a permanent tent, the cook-house, and a store- 
house containing every ounce of goods which it was 
possible to accumulate at the front. 

Curiously enough the most important section of the 
storehouse, though undermined by the river, remained 
standing right up to the night of our final departure 
one of the supports vanishing into the river as the 
last load was removed. 

With the aid of a rattan rope which two of the 
more agile men succeeded in fixing from bank to bank, 
by the following morning everything was transferred to 
the opposite side of the river. The Papuans worked 
excellently, not only carrying loads three times as 
heavy as those borne by the coolies, but carrying them 
much faster. Wollaston and Cramer remained here 
in order to despatch the transport, whilst I went on, 
though by a different route, to the old forest path 
which had cost us so much labour to construct some 
months before. That had long ago been abandoned 
as impracticable for coolie transport, and a fresh one 
planned which made a considerable sweep to the south 
and lay entirely in the plains. The construction of this 
had been superintended by Wollaston when he relieved 

am 



A FLOODED RIVER 

us in August, and It proved superior in every respect 
to the old one. 

The two days' journey up the right bank of the 
Iwaka along the path already prepared by Marshall 
showed clearly enough the difficulties he must have en- 
countered when hacking his way through the forest. As 
far as possible he had kept close to the river, but cliffs 
and ravines had so often blocked the way that in many 
places the working party had been forced to make a 
detour high up the mountain side where it was difficult 
even for unladen men to maintain their footing. 

Anxiously w r e scanned the valley in the hope that 
a ford might be found which had possibly been over- 
looked by the advance party. The river scarcely altered 
in width, and there was never any sign of change of 
direction until at last the sight of a great valley 
opening out to the east made us feel sure that the main 
river did flow from that direction, and that it would 
therefore be unnecessary to cross to the opposite bank. 
Full of joy at this stroke of fortune, we once more 
entered the forest, to emerge an hour later on to 
Marshall's camping ground, only to find the hateful 
river still racing past in undiminished volume and force. 
As on many former occasions, we had been once more 
deceived. The site occupied by the camp was a wild 
jumble of rocks, the interstices filled with decaying 
vegetation ; it was, however, the only possible place in 
the valley, and suited us perfectly when once platforms 
had been built spanning the chasms. 

We were in a cup, hemmed in on all sides by 
mountains. Immediately behind the camp was an 
imperceptibly moving landslide, reeking with moisture, 
over which hovered clouds of butterflies sucking the 
water from the wet rocks. The movement of the earth 

302 



ROCK FORMATION 

had left exposed to view many seams of coal varying 
in thickness from four to eight inches, but so soft and 
poor in quality that when placed in the fire it would 
scarcely burn. Dr. Lorentz found coal of a like quality 
above the Nord River, and brought some back with 
him to experiment with in his launch. The Hon. 
Stanisforth Smith, during his late adventurous journey 
in the British section of the island, found coal which he 
declared was of a hard and good quality. It seems 
likely therefore that coal exists in almost all parts of 
this land, but whether it can ever be worked and made 
to pay is another matter. 

It was not easy to discover the rock formation in 
the valley of the Iwaka. In the actual bed of the river 
a channel had been cut through many strata of perpen- 
dicular slate, while on either side clay, sandstone, and 
the main stratum of limestone could be distinguished. 
Lower down the river a few boulders of granite were 
found, small in size and far from numerous, while at 
several spots there were traces of tin, copper, and 
much iron ore. From a commercial point of view, a 
discovery of greater interest was the dead patches 
of forest found near the coal system and on the ridge 
to the west of the camp. Here there were strong 
indications of the presence of kerosene oil, suffi- 
cient in quantity to have killed many square yards of 
vegetation. What we would like to have discovered 
was gold, but despite much washing at every likely 
spot, not a grain of this metal was brought to light. 
Beyond this we were unable to discover anything of the 
rocks and minerals of the plains and lower foothills, for 
unless a cliff or landslide is examined immediately it is 
formed it becomes so quickly clothed in dense scrub 
as to defy all attempts at investigation. 

303 



UNPROMISING PROSPECTS 

Though the plain was shut in on every side, one 
could not but admire the immediate surroundings of the 
camp. At our feet tumbled the foaming waters, on this 
day clear of mud ; whilst immediately opposite, growing 
from the very water's edge, and from the crevices of the 
jagged slate rocks, flourished the most luxurious masses 
of tropical vegetation, chief amongst which was the 
beautiful tree fern. From the background rose mighty 
mountains towering in every direction, their summits 
wreathed in fleecy clouds, the lower slopes tinted by 
the setting sun, altogether forming a most impressive 
scene of tropical glory. 

Our pleasure in the surroundings, however, was soon 
dispelled by the news brought in by Marshall, whose 
discoveries with regard to the prospects of a further 
advance to the east had been anything but promising. 
The river had been examined for miles up-stream and 
down without a ford being located or a tributary found, 
which by diminishing the volume of the main stream 
might enable a crossing to be made. Dozens of trees 
had been felled in fruitless attempts to span the torrent. 
The worst news of all was that the Iwaka for the next 
three or four miles continued to flow from the north, 
and from what could be seen from the lie of the 
mountains there was no reason to expect a change 
of direction. 

A path had been cut for over two miles up the south 
spur of a mountain lying to the north of the camp, and 
this, if it led nowhere in particular, at least promised a 
fair view of the surrounding country and the general 
course of the river. Along this path Marshall and I 
set out at daybreak, the going underfoot being excellent 
and the ascent gradual and regular. In this case a 
natural path had been formed along the crest, and the 

304 




FROM ABOVE I \VAKA CAMP 

Looking towards \Vataikwa Mountain. Precipice under cbud in the background. 





THE WATAIKWA RIVER 

This river, either by wading or swimming, had to be crossed daily. 



AN ARDUOUS CLIMB 

dead timber having fallen down the slopes on either 
hand left an unencumbered line between. By ten o'clock 
we had climbed to an altitude of 2500 feet and entered a 
zone of stunted moss-covered trees streaming with mois- 
ture. Though we hurried on as quickly as possible and 
wielded the kukries with the utmost energy, the summit 
was not reached before the neighbouring country had 
become shrouded in mist. We were able to see, how- 
ever, that when some trees had been felled a fine 
view would be obtainable in all directions. There was 
nothing to be gained by waiting where we were, for 
in New Guinea when once clouds have descended upon 
the mountains there is no change, so it remains for the 
rest of the day. We therefore returned to camp for 
the night. 

Next morning, accompanied by two Gurkhas and 
one coolie, I set out again as soon as it was light, 
each of us laden to his utmost capacity with tent, 
blankets, food and cooking pots, for I was determined 
not to return without having made a detailed map of 
the whole of the surrounding country. None of us, with 
the exception of the coolie, were used to carrying heavy 
loads, and having piled the things upon each other's 
backs we set out, much amused at our appearance and 
as frisky as kittens. What animal we resembled on 
reaching the top I do not know, but I know that we 
arrived at long intervals and very silent. I had no idea 
that loads could increase in weight so rapidly. The 
summit was cleared of trees and the tent erected, but 
until sufficient water had been squeezed from the moss 
no food could be prepared. Spring water was not 
obtainable on the summit, but with the regular evening 
downpour of rain there was no difficulty in keeping the 
pots well filled. 

305 u 



A GRAXD OUTLOOK 

Morning broke to show us that our shelter was 
perched on the highest pinnacle, with mountains all 
around, like a lighthouse in a tempestuous sea. The 
outlook was grand in the extreme, and the atmosphere 
so clear that the very rocks of the great precipice to the 
north could be clearly distinguished, but with the dark- 
ness of the night still hanging in the valleys it was as 
yet impossible to make out the true course of the I waka. 
Gaze as we might, we could arrive at no other conclusion 
than that the valley straight ahead must be the valley of 
the Wataikwa, in which case the Iwaka must flow from 
the east at a spot we had already passed. But this 
could not be, for the east was hemmed in by a ring 
of mountains through which no river could possibly 
have passed. 

The wind changed, and with it was borne the distant 
sound of rushing waters, not ahead to the north but 
from the valley to the north-west. Further investiga- 
tion with glasses discovered a dark and gloomy ravine 
cutting the southern slopes of Wataikwa Mountain, 
from which issued the river of that name. There was 
no mistake about it this time, as its course could be 
traced close to our old camping ground of months before, 
and past the Wataikwa camp itself. So completely 
hidden was the gorge which had thrown us wrong that 
even when looking into it from this elevated position 
its sheer walls were hardly to be seen, and no clue of its 
existence could possibly have been obtained from the 
plains. Had Marshall and I during our journey six 
months ago been able to continue up its bed for a few 
more hundred yards, we should have solved the problem 
and saved ourselves much labour. Since the old camp- 
ing ground could be distinguished four miles to the 
south-west, and as the slopes on that side of the mountain 

306 



A GRAND OUTLOOK 

were easy, a path could have been cut up to where we 
were in one day's march. 

Directly to the east lay the ring of mountains the 
goal of this present j ourney . S car cely six miles separated 
us from the eastern brim, and yet how hopeless the 
task now appeared, with the Iwaka running strong and 
impassable between. 

To make quite sure that the gorge to the north did 
contain the Iwaka, and to remove any remaining uncer- 
tainty that the latter might be a tributary of the 
Wataikwa, we dropped on to the col and commenced 
the climb to the mountain itself. From there the river 
could be seen, and at length satisfied that no other 
course lay open to us but to cross the Iwaka, we retired 
to the main camp on the river, arriving at the very 
moment when Wollaston appeared with fresh stores. 

The journey to the mountain-top had been successful 
in two ways ; it had enabled me to add a large amount 
of accurate plane-table work to the map, and had also 
conclusively proved that if a further advance was to be 
made eastwards, some means must be found to cross the 
Iwaka River* 

No time was to be lost. Ten days' rations for the 
whole force were now collected, and within this period 
the advance and return had to be completed. 



307 



CHAPTER XXII 

Searching for a ford A dangerous undertaking A plucky Gurkha- 
Building a bridge Second stage of our advance The stores an im- 
portant factor Ef ects of temperature Bad going Eeduced rations 
Miserable coolies A race with the clouds Success A fine view 
The Nassau range Oil and minerals The Utakwa Paver Mount 
Idenburg Tapiro Mountain Plains and rivers Doctor Lorentz 
The price of success The return journey A feast and its results 



T till now every attempt to span or ford the river 
had ended ignominiously, as the trees, breaking in 
two as they fell across the chasm or failing to reach the 
opposite bank, were at once swept away by the torrent. 
Having collected the Gurkhas and coolies and 
explained to them what was required, a reward of a 
hundred guilders was offered to the man or party of 
men who would construct and form a bridge which 
would allow our force to cross to the opposite bank of 
the river. Full of eagerness to win this substantial 
sum of money, the men split up into several parties 
and went off* in the hopes of felling a sufficiently high 
tree with which to span the torrent, the Gurkhas 
moving down- and the coolies up-stream. The result 
of the coolies endeavours was soon evident to us from 
the numerous great trees which came swirling past 
the camp all with their backs broken. In the evening 
they returned dejected to report complete failure. The 
Gurkhas, on the other hand, came in about five o'clock 
with the news that one of them had succeeded in 
crossing the river with the aid of a rattan fastened to 
his waist. He had proceeded up-stream to a tree 

308 



A DANGEROUS UNDERTAKING 

which had been previously noted from the right bank 
as standing in a favourable position, and had felled it 
with such precision that it had remained spanning the 
river two feet above the water. Even though the river 
was lower than usual owing to the fine weather, the 
accomplishment of this feat required both pluck and 
enterprise, and was a feather in the cap of the Gurkhas. 

Having hastened to the spot and inspected the 
trunk, we fixed it more firmly with stones, and were 
able to suspend a single strand of rattan creeper from 
bank to bank at a more suitable site some small dis- 
tance up the river. Fortune had certainly been on our 
side so far, but lest we should find the problem too 
easy, an immense flood poured down the river that 
night and swept the frail bridge out of existence. A 
flimsy rope of rattan now formed our only connection 
with the opposite bank, and unless one man at least could 
be got across, the construction of a permanent bridge 
would be impossible. Three feet beneath the rattan 
raced the swollen torrent, and if the rope should break it 
was certain death to anyone trying to cross. Still the 
bridge, even at the risk of life, had to be built somehow, 
otherwise any further advance would be checked and 
our past efforts wasted. I offered heavy bribes to the 
coolies to attempt the passage, but though they were 
eager enough to have the money, none would venture 
on to the swinging rope. The value of the bribe was 
increased several times but without effect, not a man 
would undertake the job ; and at heart I sympathised 
with their fears. 

There was, however, an exceptionally brave man 
present, one who was ready to make the attempt with- 
out offer of reward. Jangbir, a Gurkha and an ex- 
military policeman, who had recently been promoted 

309 



A PLUCKY GURKHA 

Havildar, was noticed unostentatiously fixing a girdle 
of rattan round his waist. He and another excellent 
compatriot, Herker Jit, had come to the conclusion 
that Jangbir, being the lighter man, had the best 
chance of hauling himself across hand-over-hand and 
might succeed provided the strand did not break. In 
the event of the rope giving way, his life might still be 
saved by a line of thin rattan fastened round the waist, 
by which his comrades could draw him back to safety. 
The feat was a particularly nasty one to attempt, for 
the rattan was weak and flimsy, and were it to sag in 
the torrent the tremendous strain would inevitably tear 
the man from his hold. 

Willing hands grasped the rope whilst Jangbir 
lowered himself into the river and, hand-over-hand, 
started on his perilous journey. The force of the 
current dragged his body level with the surface, but 
he made rapid progress till half-way across when the 
speed slackened owing to his being now on the upward 
grade. It gradually became slower and slower, for the 
strain was beginning to tell, and strive as he might 
he could not pass the three-quarter mark. Every 
eye was fixed on Jangbir, and encouraging shouts 
raised urging him to make one supreme effort, and 
then the waist rope caught the water and the weight 
stopped him completely ! To draw it taut was only to 
make the position more critical, so it was paid out 
rapidly in the hope that the momentary relief might 
enable him to continue his efforts. This unfortunately 
only made matters worse, for the force of the water 
was such that it was all he could do to maintain his grip. 
It was now only a matter of seconds when he must 
be torn away and the second stage of the proceedings, 
the attempt to save his life by means of the waist line, 

310 




THE GURKHA JANGBIR 

Hero of the bridge-building episode. 




SPANNING THE TORRENT 

The bridge thrown by the expedition across the Iwaka River. 



BUILDING A BRIDGE 

would have to be carried out. Then happened the 
most fortunate thing imaginable. The waist line, of 
which quite eighty feet were taking the full force of 
the water, suddenly snapped. Relieved of the weight, 
Jangbir, with one last effort, completed the few remain- 
ing yards, and pulled himself exhausted on to the land. 
I never felt so thankful in my life. For it was one of 
the best actions carried out in cold blood that I have 
ever had the good fortune to witness. 

With one man on the opposite bank the work of 
building the bridge proceeded apace ; more rattan was 
passed across and tied to the trees until finally a strand 
of five thicknesses was in position, along which an agile 
man could pass in comparative safety. 

All through the second day the work was continued, 
and by nightfall the bridge was complete, when even 
a one-legged cripple might have crossed with ease. It 
was built after the style of the ordinary Himalayan 
suspension bridges ; the two upper parallels, each formed 
of many strands, served as handrails, whilst below and 
between them hung the footway, also consisting of 
one thick rope. From one handrail to the other, and 
beneath the foot-rope were passed loops, so that the 
weight of the passenger should be equally distributed, 
and the whole sufficiently strong to allow the laden 
coolies to cross in safety. 

The building of the bridge had taken three out of 
the ten days for which food supplies had been collected ; 
a serious loss, and one which could not be rectified by 
sending any more coolies to the rear, as out of the forty- 
eight landed six weeks previously there only remained 
nineteen fit for work, and every one of these was 
required to carry forward rice and equipment. 

On the morning of the 8th February, thirteen months 

311 



THE AVAILABLE STORES 

after our landing on the coast, the bridge was crossed 
and the next stage of the advance begun. The path to 
the east, which followed a gently sloping valley, inter- 
sected with numerous ravines, had already been pre- 
pared for a distance of a couple of miles, and along this 
good progress was made. The three Gurkhas who had 
been told off to clear the way worked hard and fast, 
until at midday they struck a new valley and a fresh 
river, the latter as clear as crystal and fordable. It 
flowed, as we had hoped and expected, from the ring of 
mountains we wished to reach. Pushing on for another 
mile up-stream w r e camped for the night on a fairly open 
spit of sand, which was quickly prepared for the tents, 
though a swarm of infuriated bees for some time dis- 
puted its possession with us. We were actually in the 
gorge of the amphitheatre of mountains, and the road 
to be followed was clearly defined by the valley ahead. 
On the next day only four miles were covered, the going 
getting worse and worse as we went on. Ravines from 
the neighbouring mountains not only impeded our 
passage, but forced us now and again to make a detour 
far up the hillside, away from the river. 

We had quite counted on turning the corner of the 
mountain at the end of this day's march, but an un- 
expected spur not only prevented this, but in addition 
formed an obstacle to circumvent which would entail a 
march of many extra miles. The stores available were 
now only sufficient for five more days, and it was fully 
realised that if we continued the march in the present 
direction it was more than probable that we should be 
unable to reach the summit at all The end of the 
mountain ring lay to the east, and we therefore decided 
to force a passage up this spur and then to work our 
way along the top ; though we quite appreciated the 

312 



EFFECTS OF TEMPERATURE 

fact that the view would probably not be so extensive 
as that to be obtained from Mount Godman, we felt 
that it was better to make certain of what was within 
our reach than to run the risk of not obtaining any 
results at all. 

Accordingly the next morning we began to ascend 
the spur of this ugly rounded mass. At first much 
cutting had to be done and the progress was slow, but 
once on the narrow ridge the going was better, and we 
eventually reached a camping-ground over two thousand 
feet above the river, and three thousand two hundred 
above the sea. Further progress that day was not pos- 
sible, for the limit within which water was obtainable 
had already been passed, and there was no immediate 
prospect of rain. Water sufficient for the cooking of the 
rice and assuaging our thirst was obtained that night 
from a waterhole in the neighbouring ravine. 

As might be expected in this land of adversity and 
disappointment, now that we would have welcomed it, 
no rain fell, and as there was no chance of any springs 
being found higher up, we might anticipate further 
trouble unless a storm should break on the following day. 

The ground chosen for the bivouac was particularly 
bad, but it was the only spot at all possible. Before 
long the camp took shape, trees were felled and laid 
across the hollows and fixed from rock to rock, or 
balanced on other trees. Amidst the bustle of pitch- 
ing the tents there was time to notice and appreciate 
the difference in temperature compared with that to 
which we had so long been accustomed. Here, though 
damp, it was both cool and fresh, and though we en- 
joyed the change, it was not at all to the liking of the 
coolies. Two men fell out from sickness, Pulman, 
a Gurkha, who had damaged his leg badly when ford- 

313 



BAD GOING 

ing the river and was now incapable of walking, and a 
coolie stricken with fever. 

At daybreak the ascent was continued, and as the 
forest of the previous day gave place to a labyrinth of 
tangled vegetation, four cutters were now required. 
The great trees, checked in their upward growth, sought 
to spread their limbs nearer to the ground, twining and 
twisting round one another, and forming such a con- 
fused mass of vegetation as to check all advance till, 
by slashing and cutting, a passage was made. 

Everything was reeking with moisture. Glistening 
drops of water fell incessantly from the festoons of moss 
which, hanging from the trees, had the appearance of 
the softest of mantles. Exquisitely beautiful were the 
caves thus formed, over, through, and under which we 
forced our way. They seemed like veritable enchanted 
halls until the incautious shaking of a bough brought 
down such a shower of earth and water as to dispel the 
illusion. 

Up and up we moved along a narrow ridge toward 
our goal, every now and then catching glorious peeps 
of the plains below, which at this early hour sparkled 
with light where the sun's rays were reflected from the 
winding rivers. On arriving at the summit another 
disappointment awaited us ; so rounded was it that 
even from the top of the highest trees no view could 
be obtained. We had now reached an altitude of 
5400 feet, and here the camp was pitched. During the 
last 1000 feet of the ascent no solid ground had been 
seen, and we had to walk on a thick layer of live or 
dead timber which covered the soil. On this insecure 
footing the heavier members of the party had fared 
badly, for what would carry a nine-stone man was 
often unable to bear the weight of an extra three 

314 




WOMEN USING THE STONE AXE TO SPLIT FIREWOOD 




THE CAMP AT 5400 FEET 

The tents pitched on a six.foot layer of decaying timber. 



REDUCED RATIONS 

stone. Here, at the camp, many feet of timber and 
rank vegetation lay between us and the ground. 

The cutting party sent forward to prepare a road for 
the morrow reported, on their return at dusk, that the 
going on the summit and along the crest of the hills 
became worse and worse the farther they progressed. 

Xo rain fell during the night, and the single tin of 
water which had been carried throughout the day's 
march had to be supplemented by moisture wrung 
from the moss. Allowing sufficient food for the return 
journey, but one day's rations now remained, and even 
this was less than the usual quantity served out. 

The next morning, leaving the camp standing, so as 
to shelter the miserable coolies, we set out at daybreak, 
and taking with us the four best cutters, moved along 
the path previously prepared. Progress was terribly 
slow, and when the summit was reached we found that 
it would be necessary to advance still farther, as no view 
was to be obtained in any direction. The ridge now 
began to narrow, falling away steeply on either hand. 
Hour after hour was spent hacking and hewing a way, 
the occasional glimpses of the country below encourag- 
ing us in our labours. Then, at a height of 5600 feet, 
we suddenly attained our object and arrived at the very 
kind of spot we had so long been striving to find. 

We found ourselves on the narrowest of ridges, with 
the ground, bare of trees, dropping sheer on either side. 
The low shrubs were at once removed, and there we 
sat hoping against hope that the mist might clear. 
Instead of this it gave way to a dense fog, which we 
knew full well would last till nightfall. With our 
spirits at a low ebb we returned to camp, and ordered 
that the one small ration that remained should be 
divided into two, for to retire when success was well 

315 



MISERABLE COOLIES 

within our grasp was quite out of the question. With 
only dirty water in which to cook the rice, and knowing 
that they would have to spend one day more, frozen to 
the marrow, in their present camp, the coolies on hear- 
ing this were reduced to a pitiable state of distress. 
Indeed, a more miserable-looking collection of men it 
would be hard to imagine. Huddled together for 
Avarmth, too wretched even to light a fire or to raise a 
leafy protection against the wind, they had remained 
almost inanimate since daybreak such were the men 
who had been enlisted to undertake the journey to the 
snows ! Had the most perfect road lain before us, and 
had the gradient been ever so little upward, it is doubt- 
ful if we could have got more than one other march 
out of them. 

The night was cold and damp, so much so that the 
men detailed for the advance were astir long before the 
first faint light of the coming sun showed in the east. 
A hasty cup of tea and we were off along the old track. 
In the dark this was found to be a continuous series of 
pitfalls owing to the most rotten pieces of timber having 
collapsed under the strain of yesterday's traffic. We 
scrambled and climbed on those that would not break, 
or wormed our way beneath, increasing the pace as we 
drew nearer and nearer our goal. The march soon 
developed into a race, the fear of the clouds which we 
knew would form as soon as the sun was an hour in the 
skies, spurring us on to fresh efforts, for we were deter- 
mined that nothing should defeat us now that our 
object was so nearly attained. Wet to the skin from 
the exercise and the drippings off the trees, we broke 
out at last upon the open ridge to find not a cloud in 
the sky, and the most glorious view that I have ever 
seen unfolded before our eyes. 

316 



A FINE VIEW 

Not a moment was to be lost we had no time at 
present to examine the beauties of the landscape ; the 
first thing to do was to set up the plane-table and 
fix the position of as many as possible of the long- 
desired points. Steadily the detail of the map was filled 
in, till at length all was finished, and not a moment 
too soon, since the clouds had already hidden the higher 
peaks from view and were rolling down the distant 
mountain sides. 

For another hour we sat and gazed and gazed, first 
one way then another. In all directions the land lay 
spread before us ; to every point of the compass could 
we turn, recalling to our minds our past failures and 
speculating as to the possibilities for exploration in the 
future. How different the land looked when seen from 
above ! Where we had imagined lay the course of one 
river we found another ; a hill here, a ravine there, were 
now exposed to view, though all had been hidden from 
the level of the plain ; and we realised how impossible 
it is to discover the trend of rivers in a mountainous 
country when merely viewing them from low ground. 

To the south, for in that direction our eyes first 
wandered, in the dim and hazy distance stretched the 
faint coast line, straight and unbroken except for three 
large bays formed by the mouths of the Kamura, and 
what we took to be the Aiika and Newerip rivers bays 
capacious enough to hold the entire fleets of Great 
Britain, but rendered useless to the smallest craft by 
the bars which either close their mouths, or upon which 
breaks so heavy a surf that only in the calmest weather 
can canoes cross in safety. From the distant outline 
of the coast almost to our feet, and from the Charles 
Louis mountains in the far west for another fifty miles 
to where the rugged spurs of Mount Carstensz closed 

31? 



A FIXE VIEW 

the view in the east, the interminable jungle stretched 
unbroken. It was through this dark and almost track- 
less forest, hideous in its monotony, that we had been 
attempting to force our way for so many weeks. Not 
a single break was there, not a clearing, not a lake or 
grassy plain not even a whisp of smoke in the midst 
of the immensity nothing but the black and forbidding 
forest shrouding the bogs and fetid vapours which lay 
beneath, and tenanted only by birds of gorgeous plum- 
age, by snakes and other creeping things. Through 
this interminable growth turned and twisted great 
rivers, vanishing into the gloom only to appear again as 
glittering streaks of light, beautified by the straggling 
lines of mist which still resisted the warmth of the 
morning sun. At our feet the mountains fell abruptly 
away to the plain, over five thousand feet below. 

Turning to the north, in the foreground we could 
see the ring of mountains upon the end of which we 
stood, culminating in Mount Godman, a long five miles 
away, although in the rarefied air appearing close at 
hand. 

Beyond this, standing out hard and clear, rose the 
great precipice, the southern face of the central range 
which divides this land into two distinct parts, the 
northern and the southern. Black and forbidding 
towered the great cliff, seared and scarred with the 
passing of ages, and forming a barrier which at this 
point would defy any efforts of man to scale. Formed 
of hard limestone, the stratification of which could 
easily be seen with the naked eye even at this distance, 
it stretches from Mount Carstensz in the east for eighty 
miles to the west, where it gradually drops away to the 
valley dividing it from the Charles Louis Range. The 
highest point is Mount Leonard Darwin, named after 

318 



THE NASSAU RANGE 

the late President of the Royal Geographical Society, 
a castellated peak near the centre, with an altitude of 
14,000 feet above sea-level. The face here has a clear 
drop of little short of 10,000 feet, or about 1| miles- 
far and away the greatest precipice in the world. To 
the east and west it is nearly as high, but the full sheer 
heights we were unable to determine with exactitude, as 
we never had the theodolite with us when the summit and 
foot were visible at the same time, or I should say when 
the foot was to be seen from a point the height of which 
had been already fixed. Nevertheless 6500 feet of sheer 
rock was measured from the spit of sand at the mouth 
of the Mimika, and the remaining distance had to be 
calculated by eye, and by the known drop of the river. 

As the range is continuous, the limestone is probably 
of the same age as that met with by Dr. Lorentz one 
hundred and fifty miles farther to the east. Her 
Majesty the Queen of Holland has graciously per- 
mitted us to name this particular section the Nassau 
Range. Mighty boulders and ridges of bare rock lie 
along the foot of the precipice, some too steep to allow 
any vegetation to obtain a foothold ; others kinder in 
their slopes, being clothed to their summits. 

Though in the light of our present knowledge it 
would be rash to state this as a certainty, taking into 
consideration the lie of the strata, which dip to the 
north at an angle of 25, the absence of any fair- 
sized streams running from the north and beyond, and 
the fact that we could see no mountains still farther 
off, it appears very probable that the precipice forms the 
water-parting between north and south Dutch New 
Guinea in this area. 

The face of the rock shows little signs of ancient 
weathering, and in the plains stretching from the foot- 

319 



OIL AND MINERALS 

hills to the sea the soil is entirely alluvial, with no 
outcrops of rock even in the river-beds. These facts, 
together with the shallowness of the Arafura Sea, lead 
one to believe that a great " fault " runs from end to 
end of the island. 

Of what the mountains from the foot of the precipice 
to the plains consist it is impossible to say with cer- 
tainty ; from what was revealed from one or two land- 
slides it seems probable that they are mainly composed 
of limestone. I have already mentioned the other rock 
formations which we came across, namely, the outcrop 
of coal at a distance of nineteen miles from the pre- 
cipice, and the perpendicular slate formation in the 
Iwaka bed near the same place. In addition, a few 
granite boulders are to be found scattered about the 
beds of the rivers, and there are indications of the 
presence of iron, tin, and copper. Though the finding 
of oil-bearing ground near the Iwaka camp and close 
to the coal strata is interesting, owing to the prohibitive 
cost of development and transport the discovery possesses 
little commercial value. 

In the middle distance, between the great precipice 
and the point where we were standing, rose the splendid 
peaks of the Wataikwa and Tuaba mountains, with 
their outlying spurs nearly as massive as themselves. 

Then to the east, the conspicuous and not over- 
beautiful Cock's Comb Mountain met the eye, to which, 
curiously enough, the Dutch Utakwa expedition had 
given an identical name. Beyond lay the valley of the 
Utakwa, a river which was then being explored by 
the expedition under Lieutenant van der Bie and 
Lieutenant Postama. That great river had originally 
been chosen as our line of communication, but was 
abandoned in favour of the Mimika. For seventeen 

90 



MOUNT IDENBURG 

miles from the mouth of the Utakwa the steamer could 
ascend with ease to the first base camp, then for two 
days more navigation was by means of launch, and a 
third day by canoe. From this most advanced point 
the exploring party had pushed on and cut their way 
for seven marches through the forest to within seven- 
teen miles of Mount Carstensz. They had been nearly 
one year in the country, but such difficulties had been 
encountered, mainly connected with transport, that the 
expedition had eventually been withdrawn and the 
members transferred to take part in the Island River 
expedition farther to the east. 

Cock's Comb was already partly lost in cloud, but 
to the north towered the mighty peaks of Carstensz, 
16,000 feet of rock and snow, and the three newly- 
discovered pinnacles of Mount Idenburg, so named by 
us after the Governor-General of the Netherlands India. 
This great mountain is a stupendous mass of wild and 
broken rock, steep and precipitous below, seared with 
black and uninviting ravines and fissures. Above, on 
an easier slope, a sheet of snow and ice stretches for 
miles; here a smooth snowfield, there a tumbled 
glacier, partly in shadow, partly in glittering light, but 
standing out all the whiter by contrast with the dark 
rock below. These snows, and also two other peaks a 
mile or so to the north, had all been visible from the 
mouth of the Mimika, but from nowhere could a suffi- 
ciently detailed examination of the great mass be made 
to enable one to judge whether it is climbable by man. 
This question can only be solved by actual trial, and 
the attempt is being undertaken at this present moment 
(December 1912) by Wollaston, who has again entered 
the country. This time he has a well-equipped and 
perfectly-organised expedition, and with the Utakwa or 

321 x 



TAPIRO MOUNTAIN 

some other equally favourable river as a line of advance, 
it is my confident and earnest hope that he will achieve 
success in the same way as did Dr. Lorentz in his second 
attempt to climb Wilhelmina Peak. If he succeed 
and I believe that he will it will be by taking a line of 
advance up some narrow valley to the west of Mount 
Carstensz, and between that and Mount Idenburg. 
Whether he conquers or not great difficulties lie before 
him, of which cold, want of food, transport troubles, 
and precipitous cliffs are only a few. In spite of these 
obstacles, however, once he has arrived at the snows at 
a height of 14,000 feet, the way to the summit will 
prove to be comparatively easy compared with that 
which lies behind. 

Turning now to the last quarter of the compass, the 
Tapiro Mountain with its spurs and neighbouring ridges 
lay to the west. This range, along the slopes of which 
we had so often moved, is the home of the small 
mountain men; never a sign, however, was there of 
the Mimika River, which, as we well knew, rose at its 
southern foot and flowed from thence direct to the sea. 
It was too small and too insignificant to show itself in 
the company of its greater sisters, and we searched in 
vain for a break in the forest which might indicate its 
presence. The Kapare, several miles beyond, could be 
easily distinguished throughout its course from the 
mountains to the Arafura Sea. 

As gazing over this vast country we examined from 
above the plains and rivers over which and through 
which we had passed, and observed the new ones which 
still blocked the forward road, and the turns and twists 
of the forest-clad ravines that still remained to be 
conquered before the highlands of perpetual snow 
could be reached, it was borne upon us that the task of 

322 



DOCTOR LORENTZ 

reaching Carstensz, with the Mimika as a line of com- 
munication and approach, was utterly impossible. As 
long as the expedition was tied to this line the quality 
of the transport and the food-supplies mattered little. 
Had these been better we should have penetrated 
farther into the interior, but should have added little 
more to our knowledge of the country. These errors 
of direction are, however, inevitable when pioneer ex- 
ploration is being carried out in whatever part of the 
world it may be. Now that the correct river or rivers 
for a line of advance are known, there is no reason why 
a determined and perfectly equipped party should not 
succeed in reaching Carstensz. When once the river 
has been selected it must be kept to and never left, and 
however slow the advance may be, however rough the 
road, there must be no weakening in the determination 
to push onward, ever onward. That is the only way to 
obtain successful results in this otherwise impossible 
country. 

Doctor Lorentz, a traveller whose work has earned 
him well-deserved credit, some few years ago attempted 
the task of reaching the snows from a point one hundred 
and fifty miles to the east of where we were working. 
In 1907, with a well-equipped expedition, he had worked 
up the Nord River for many marches, in an endeavour 
to reach Wilhelmina Peak, but was at length forced 
to retire. This was, however, not till after he had 
found a practicable spur leading straight to his goal. 
Returning in 1909 with a freshly-equipped expedition, 
and working on the knowledge of the country he had 
already acquired, he was this time completely successful. 

In this district, where all rivers flow from the north 
to the south, it is not practicable to attempt, as we had 
done, to force a way east and west, for any river one 

323 



THE PRICE OF SUCCESS 

comes across may at any time cut the line of retreat or 
block the line of advance. In addition to this, thick 
and almost impenetrable jungle, the total absence of 
local food-supplies and means of transport, and the 
periodic flooding of the country during the rainy seasons, 
combine to render such cross journeys an altogether 
impossible feat. 

For an hour we sat and gazed upon the scene, 
absorbed in its grandeur and desolation. It is a land 
whose past history is hidden in the mists of time, and 
one without a future, since it can never be occupied by 
civilised settlers. Here, as everywhere, a weight of 
silence lay upon the scene; there was not a sound, 
nothing beyond the chatter of two small black-caps, 
twittering with surprise at the unwonted presence of 
man. 

Our work was done. Our quest, though falling 
short of what we had hoped for, had succeeded. But 
at what a cost of life, money, and time ! 

And so back to camp, to pack up for the morrow, 
and once more to make the most of one of the meanest 
of meals of which I had ever partaken, and to dream, 
whilst huddled in the blankets, of the joys of home, 
which were now measurably within our reach. 

Down poured the rain, and with it rose the spirits of 
the coolies ; thirst might be quenched, and water col- 
lected in which to cook their last handful of rice : and 
above everything else, there was joy in the thought 
that to-morrow they were to start the return journey 
home from this dreaded jungle, and that before long the 
flesh-pots of Amboina would be seen again. 

Cramer and his men had unfortunately been com- 
pelled to return the day before, their supplies having 
come to an end. Picking up the sick men we had left 

324 



THE RETURN JOURNEY 

behind, he had carried them to the river camp, whence 
they were taken on by us. Our coolies now carrying 
light loads, the Iwaka camp was readied in one long 
march, and there we found that Cramer had already 
retired, and that Grant, having met with considerable 
success in collecting new species of birds, had likewise 
followed suit and gone back at full speed. 

We had hardly realised the eagerness felt by every- 
one to cover the return journey in the shortest possible 
time, and had calculated upon an average of 1 \ marches 
each day. As a matter of fact, we accomplished double 
marches, and no halt was called till the Wataikwa was 
reached and the whole party was once more together. 
A large tent and a couple of flies, together with a few 
of the more useless articles, had been left standing on 
the bank of the Iwaka River, and there they may remain 
to the present day, as it is hardly likely that any of the 
Papuans will revisit that desolate spot. The bridge 
also must long since have departed, as rattan ropes will 
not stand a continual strain for more than two months 
at the outside. 

We had made up our minds a long time before that 
the return to the Wataikwa should be celebrated by a 
great feast, and though no meat w r as to be obtained, we 
had reserved for this event a bottle of whisky and a 
small plum-pudding which had been brought by Short- 
ridge on his return from Australia. 

The time had now arrived. 

Marshall and I, feeling that it was a long time to wait 
till dinner, thought that we should like a taste of the 
drink early in the afternoon ; the pop of the cork, how- 
ever, was too much for the keen ears of Wollaston, who 
quickly came out of his tent and appeared on the scene. 
After some discussion it was decided that the occasion 

325 



A FEAST AND ITS RESULTS 

was worthy of a long drink, that the jollification should 
be thorough, and the bottle finished that evening. The 
plan was carried out in its entirety, but the results 
were most disappointing the more we drank the more 
depressed we became ; and then, as a climax, when the 
diminutive plum-pudding was placed before us there 
remained not a drop of whisky, the flaming spirit of 
which might have served to conceal its meagre pro- 
portions. 

We retired to bed more disappointed than words 
can tell. 



826 



CHAPTER XXIII 

Preparing to leave Bashful pygmy women A hurricane Motor boat on 
fire The Atoeka River A cordial welcome Inspecting a village- 
Dancing halls A return visitKeen traders The Kamura A colli- 
sion Kamura village A wild-looking crew Attacked An erratic 
motor A glorious bay Gorgeous coloured fish Return to "\Vakatmii 



still remained the exploration of the coast, 
JL and the transference of the stores and equipment 
from Parimau to Wakatimi, before we could consider 
ourselves free to leave the country. An application 
had already been forwarded to the Dutch authorities, 
requesting that, in accordance with a promise given to 
us when in Batavia by the Governor-General, a ship 
might be despatched in order to transport the entire 
force from New Guinea to Amboina. No boat could 
arrive for this purpose till after the 1st April, so that if 
we split forces there was more than sufficient time to 
complete everything which remained to be done, 

It will be remembered that during our last visit to 
Wambirimi, the home of the pygmies, we were led to 
believe that the women of the tribe had been on the 
verge of showing themselves, and it was now thought 
possible that heavier bribes, added to the knowledge 
that we were about to leave the country for good, 
would be sufficient inducement to tempt them to leave 
their hiding-places and come into the open. Strong 
in this belief, Marshall and Wollaston at once set out 
for the hills on their seven days' journey, well equipped 
to take photographs and measurements of these bashful 
ladies when once their scruples had been overcome, 

327 



BASHFUL PYGMY WOMEN 

They camped on the same ground as before, and 
were quite prepared to meet with as varied experiences 
as had been the case with us four months previously ; 
the little men, however, now that they knew we were 
not a dangerous crew, and had not come with the 
intention of burning their huts or devastating their 
plantations, hardly turned up in sufficient numbers to 
make it worth while unpacking the cameras. The 
women were absent as usual, so to induce the men of 
the tribe to bring them back, a still more profuse and 
enticing array of bribes was laid out than on the former 
visit. At first one axe was offered, and this failing to 
work the oracle, two were finally held out as an induce- 
ment for them to do what we wished ; strange to say, 
it was all without effect, though the price was really 
a preposterous one, one axe alone being sufficient in the 
plains to purchase a woman outright. This was pointed 
out to them, and when it was further explained that 
only the shortest of appearances was required, some of 
the youths, desirous of obtaining the reward, were seen 
to waver, and would probably have succumbed to the 
temptation had it not been for the disagreeable old 
headman, whose influence was sufficient to veto any 
such attempt on their part. A whole day was wasted 
in trying to persuade these stubborn people, and as 
there was no sign of yielding, Wollaston and Marshall 
packed up their belongings, and disregarding the appeals 
for free gifts of axes, took every piece of trade goods 
back to Parimau. 

We could never make out why this hiD tribe refused 
to bring forward their women-folk. They had had 
intercourse with us for over a year, and knew that our 
promises of reward were always fulfilled, and that no 
woman from the races of the plains had ever been 

328 



A HURRICANE 

interfered with. Yet show them they would not, and 
to our great regret we had to leave the country without 
obtaining a photograph or even a fleeting glimpse of 
the feminine half of this interesting race of pygmies. 

It has been suggested that the pygmies possibly 
objected to bring forward their women on account of 
the presence of the big men from the plains. Women 
in the lowlands are scarce, and it is conceivable that 
such covetous desires would have risen in the breasts 
of the Papuans as to have led to a raid on the 
mountain village as soon as we were clear of the 
country. 

To obtain no sight of the women was a great dis- 
appointment to all concerned, for, judging by the men, 
it is probable that the women would have averaged 
but little over 4 feet in height ; as to their appearance, 
style of dress, and what ornaments they wore, if any, 
we were left in complete ignorance. 

While this journey was in progress I had moved 
with the first lot of baggage to Wakatimi, to find on 
arrival that during our absence in the hills a hurri- 
cane had swept over the camp, levelling one-third 
of the houses to the ground, including the hospital, 
a barrack-room, two storehouses, and our dining and 
sleeping rooms. The Dutch soldiers and convicts 
had, however, worked so well under the orders of 
a quartermaster that little evidence of the damage 
could now be seen, and new houses had been built 
of sufficient strength to resist any storm under the 
force of a cyclone. 

The work of surveying the rivers to the east of the 
Mimika was postponed for several days owing to two 
reasons ; firstly, because the west monsoon, which was 
then blowing, rendered the bar at the mouth of the 

329 



THE ATOEKA RIVER 

river impassable to craft of any kind; and secondly, 
because the motor boat had been set on fire. Fortu- 
nately at the time of the accident she was moored to 
the pier with plenty of help close at hand, so that 
bv throwing in dozens of bucketsful of dry earth the 

mf O *^ 

flames were finally smothered. It looked at one time 
as if nothing could save her, as the entire fore end was 
wrapped in flames, and the petrol tank burst, sending 
clouds of smoke and flame high into the air. Beyond 
this, however, little damage was done, and the hull 
was hardly scorched, mainly owing to the sodden state 
of her timbers. Her two months' immersion in the 
river was of some value after all. Two days' hard 
work and she was again ready for use. 

The boat being once more in order and the weather 
improving, I left on 3rd March, taking in tow the yawl 
in case it might be necessary to effect a landing on the 
coast. 

From the Mimika mouth we turned sharp to the 
east, and in three hours had arrived off a promising 
opening believed to be the Atoeka River, and one of 
the supposed mouths of the Tuaba and Wataikwa. 
The entrance was perfect, and even with the eighteen- 
foot pole which we carried, as being of more practical 
use than the lead, no bar could be found at the mouth. 
Inside was a bay, narrower than that of the Mimika 
estuary but considerably deeper, the vegetation along 
the banks being of the same description. The Mimika 
is- broad and shallow, and even within the upper 
reaches of the tidal zone is blocked with timber at 
low water. The Atoeka, on the other hand, is deeper, 
swifter, and entirely free from artificial obstruction. 
Higher up than three or four miles from the mouth, 
however, no boat drawing more than five feet of water 

330 



A CORDIAL WELCOME 

can proceed when the tide is low, unless there has 
been recent heavy rainfall in the hills. From the 
coldness of the water and the amount of gritty sedi- 
ment carried down, it is evident that the source of the 
river is to be found in the mountains, and not, as in the 
case of the Mimika, in the low-lying jungle swamps. 

So numerous were the bends and loops that unless 
one knew the lie of the land it would be impossible 
to tell in what direction the advance was being made. 
So it continued, till early in the afternoon we came 
upon a boatload of unsuspecting Papuans paddling 
slowly up-stream. For a moment panic prevailed, 
then one of the occupants of the canoes recognising 
who we were, sent up such a shout of welcome that 
it was heard in a village some distance away. In a 
few minutes we reached the flanking huts of the great 
straggling village of Atoeka, from whence women and 
children were already pouring out, an excited and 
noisy crowd. A wild race took place as to who should 
be the first to offer a welcome, the older women rolling 
in the mud and slime as is customary, smearing them- 
selves from head to foot with filth and then dancing 
with the usual extravagant postures, keeping it up 
without intermission while the goods were being 
landed from the launch. 

Hundreds of men had by this time appeared upon 
the river bank, some of whom busied themselves 
in clearing the ground of rubbish, whilst the great 
majority so impeded the work of unloading the launch, 
that at length a railing had to be hastily erected and 
the men forced behind the barrier. The pressure still 
increasing, I announced my intention of inspecting the 
village. This not only drew away the majority of the 
spectators, but put them all in high good humour, for 

331 



DANCING HALLS 

the people in this district are never so happy as 
when showing you their village, and in particular 
their own family abode. The village being of great 
extent, and as far as one could see every hut being 
occupied, my escort of willing guides could not have 
numbered less than a couple of hundred men. Each 
thought it his duty to be in the front rank, and as 
the dogs and pigs of the village collected there also, 
the whole formed a parade the like of which I have 
never seen before. 

The village of Atoeka is situated on the right bank 
of the river just below a great bend. The huts stretch 
along the water's edge in one unbroken line for close 
on 1500 yards, except where two great dancing halls 
rise fifteen to twenty feet above the other buildings. 
Twenty yards of roadway lie between the huts and 
the river, the bank of which is fringed with cocoa-nut 
palms. The day being fine the scene was pleasing and 
picturesque, for the village, in addition to being the 
largest and cleanest we had yet visited, had a pleasant 
background of cocoa-nut and bread-fruit trees, with 
tobacco plantations beyond. 

The effect of the tide is felt right up to the village 
of Atoeka, and although at this date the banks of the 
river looked dry enough, I have no doubt that during 
the rains the whole country is under water for days at 
a time. 

I inspected the dancing halls, the floors of which, 
built on piles ten feet above the ground, in each case 
covered an area of about seventy by twenty-five feet. 
They were carpeted with broad strips of bark, and on 
this, close to the wall, were built six or eight fireplaces 
of sand brought from the seashore. Round the walls 
a kind of dado had been fixed, about three feet from 

332 



A RETURN VISIT 

the floor, consisting of a plank of wood, on which were 
carved representations of the human eye at intervals 
of about two feet. In the centre of the hall, between 
two posts, w T as fixed another short plank covered with 
more carved eyes. From what we could gather the 
whole idea of the dance is based on these carvings ; the 
performers, who are generally women, advancing and 
retiring with the usual shuffling gait, and when they 
have approached sufficiently close poke at the eyes 
with their fingers, accompanying the action with a 
loud shout. Throughout the performance singing and 
tom-toming is carried on without intermission. We 
never had an opportunity of witnessing one of these 
ceremonial dances, as they invariably take place at 
night and there is an unwritten law that at night 
Papuans and Europeans shall each keep to their own 
camps. The meaning of these antics and the reason 
why the eye is considered the principal organ of the 
body and is always represented in carvings, we were 
unable to determine. It is the same with the deco- 
rated house utensils, paddles, and weapons, the eye is 
the only human organ depicted. 

When four hundred huts had been inspected, the 
inhabitants thought it would be only showing proper 
politeness on their part to pay the same compliment to 
our tents and goods. Fortunately complete good 
temper was shown, or we should certainly have been 
swept into the river, and our tents with us. The 
pressure at length became so great that force had to be 
used to keep back the crowd, and in this we were 
assisted by a few of the more officious Papuans, who no 
doubt had an eye to some future reward ; despite their 
efforts, however, no food could be prepared until dusk 
fell and the crowd dispersed to their homes. 

333 



KEEN TRADERS 

These people were the keenest traders we had yet 
encountered, and as I had purchased a few stone axes 
during my walk round the village, the camp on the 
following morning was besieged by a mob of at least a 
hundred would-be sellers, each with his pile of goods 
and each noisily demonstrating the merits of his par- 
ticular article of commerce. Before me were laid 
dozens of stone axes and clubs, spears, bows and arrows, 
fish, cocoa-nuts, fresh-water oysters, and rolls of string. 
Did my eyes wander for one instant over any article, it 
was at once taken up and its good points enumerated 
and displayed. Many quite useless things were bought, 
simply because the owners were so pitiably anxious to 
possess a knife, a strip of cloth, or a few beads. There 
was no bargaining, they gladly took whatever I offered, 
and raced away to find something else to dispose of. 

When the time came to depart they did their best 
to persuade us to stop longer, and even became quite 
sulky when they saw that their efforts were in vain; 
they then changed their tactics and implored us to camp 
amongst them again on our return down the river. 

Although there was some little difficulty in starting 
her, the motor-boat must have greatly impressed these 
people as she passed swiftly and without visible effort 
from end to end of the village ; crowds raced after us 
along the banks, tumbling over one another in their 
efforts to keep up, until we slipped round the bend and 
out of sight. 

After proceeding for an hour between thickly wooded 
lands varied by patches of tobacco plantations, we un- 
expectedly entered the Kamura proper, which here 
bifurcates, forming the Atoeka and Kamura mouths. 
Even then, after a week's drought, it was a splendid 
sheet of water ; in the wet season, and in fact for most 

334 



THE KAMURA 

months of the year, it is navigable for large launches 
as far up as the village of Ibo. As we swept out of the 
Atoeka into the broad expanse, Jangbir the Gurkha's 
first question was, why had we not taken to this river 
in the first place, then surely we should have reached 
the snows ? Ah ! why not ? For two very good reasons, 
my friend ; firstly, because the very existence of this 
river was unknown to us ; and secondly, because there 
was no launch available in which we might have ex- 
amined the coast to find another waterway than the 
Mimika. 

The bed of the Kamura, which is between two and 
three hundred yards wide, was exceptionally free from 
obstacles. Straight ahead to the north the whole range 
of mountains was visible, the foothills veiled in a blue 
haze, and the black frowning precipice stretching from 
east to west, topped by the snow caps of Idenburg and 
Carstensz with their icy pinnacles glittering in the rays 
of the sun. Much as we enjoyed the journey our minds 
were never for a moment free from vain regrets that we 
had been unable to prospect this river on our first arrival. 
How insignificant appeared the dirty jungle-fed and 
fever-stricken Mimika, when compared with the wide 
stretching expanse of cold clear water of the Kamura. 
On the greater river, with its open jungle and gravelly 
banks of sand, there can be no question that our work 
would have proceeded unhindered by a great portion of 
the sickness and fever with which we had had to contend. 
Regrets and speculation as to what might have been 
done were, however, a mere waste of time; we had not 
taken the river, and there the matter ended. 

I had intended to camp at the point where the 
Wataikwa is joined by the Kamura, the junction already 
visited three months previously by Cramer when coming 

335 



A COLLISION 

from the north. My object was to join up the compass 
survey of the river, and so close that portion of the map. 
Our good intentions, however, were unexpectedly frus- 
trated, for when within a couple of miles of our destina- 
tion we crashed full upon a sunken log. So violent and 
unexpected was the impact that everyone was thrown 
to the deck, the engines came to a dead stop, and the 
timbers of the poor old boat groaned as if in mortal 
agony. The Gurkha, Bahadur, who was look-out man 
at the time, and whose particular business it was to see 
that we did not collide with obstacles, was pitched 
headlong into the river, and before he could be seized 
was swept past the boat and down the river into deep 
water. Being an indifferent swimmer he would certainly 
have lost his life had not his companion Jangbir plunged 
in and, after a struggle in which I thought both 
would have been drowned, dragged him to another 
half-sunken log from whence both were finally rescued 
by the yawl. 

In spite of every effort nothing would induce the 
engines to start afresh, though it was impossible to 
detect any obvious damage. After two hours of 
strenuous work a halt had to be called and the camp 
pitched in the neighbouring forest. It was not until 
after darkness had set in that the welcome pop-pop of 
the engine showed that she had once more awakened to 
life. As it was more than likely that the engine would 
give further trouble, the journey to the junction was 
given up, and next morning we started on our return 
voyage, this time following the eastern or Kamura 
branch of the, river: 

At full speed we passed between banks exactly 
similar to those of the western branch, the Atoeka, 
whilst both rivers were alike in the number of sharp 

336 



KAMURA VILLAGE 

turns and doublings of their course. So we went along, 
the work of rapidly taking the angles with the prismatic 
compass and judging the distance by eye keeping me 
fully occupied, for it is by no means an easy task to take 
the necessary observations when one is moving at the 
rate of eight or ten miles an hour down a river con- 
tinually doubling on itself. It must have been some 
hours after the start that we came suddenly upon a large 
village which we afterwards learnt went by the name of 
Kamura. The boat was quickly swung round, and the 
anchor dropped in mid-stream. 

The surprise and excitement caused by our sudden 
approach from above was intense. One warning cry and 
the whole population was fleeing to the bush, then, realis- 
ing who we were, they turned, the women entering their 
huts to bring out bamboos filled with chalk, which they 
cast in clouds into the air, the men placing bunches of 
leaves in their armlets as evidence of their peaceful inten- 
tions. These preliminaries accomplished, the whole body 
rushed with one accord into the river to meet us, com- 
mencing the usual dancing inseparable from a greetjaig 
in these parts, but which on this occasion was all the 
more curious owing to the fact that the majority of the 
women were in a complete state of nudity. 

They were a wild-looking crew, of a much lower 
type than any we had previously encountered. The vil- 
lage was of the universal pattern, with about 200 huts, 
but there was a complete absence of bordering cocoa- 
nut or bread-fruit trees, nor was there any other sign of 
cultivation. Whilst the old men prevented the women 
from approaching too close to the boats,-4he younger 
ones tried -their best to clamber on board, a privilege 
not allowed, as we neither liked their looks nor their 
manners, and they had therefore to be content, much to 

837 Y 



A WILD-LOOKING CREW 

their disappointment, with standing waist-deep in the 
water. In this position conversation was carried on 
with difficulty, as they made such a babel of noise that 
no definite remarks could be exchanged on either side. 
I gave them a few fish-hooks and beads, thinking. that 
this might encourage them to bring some fruit if they 
had any, the only result being to create more excitement 
and to draw a still greater number of men into the river. 
They were of a lower type and of a more brutal counte- 
nance than any we had met before, and almost to a man 
were nude. They seemed to know little about us and 
our ways, so we soon weighed anchor, and bade them 
adieu. 

Hardly had the engines started than four boat-loads 
of men at once set off in pursuit, but as the current 
carried us along at a fine pace they and the village were 
soon left behind. For two miles there was nothing to 
impede our progress. Round sharp bends we swept, the 
river often doubling upon itself and flowing between 
banks of a dense scrub-like jungle, making record time, 
tiU the engines again broke down and further tinkering 
was required. 

Whilst we were busied in this task the four canoes 
which had followed us from Kamura village suddenly 
appeared upon the scene, and without more ado drew 
up alongside the yawl. Without recognising our exist- 
ence, or with so much as a word, two men stepped out 
and began to remove the box of trade goods from which 
the hooks and beads had been taken, and which also 
contained several knives and a few axes. It was already 
half on to the man's shoulder when Bahadur (the 
Gurkhas are always quick to make up their minds), with 
a shout of rage which was enough to daunt the stoutest 
heart, drove the muzzle of the gun into the thief's ribs. 

338 




Z 

= 2 

fi 



AN ERRATIC MOTOR 

Down the box clattered into the bottom of the boat ; 
had it been red-hot it could not have been dropped 
quicker, and the now vociferous savages hastily with- 
drew a stone's-throw away to discuss the new turn 
affairs had taken. A plan of action was soon concocted, 
and they divided forces, half vanishing into the jungle 
and moving down-stream, whilst the others watched us 
from above. Threats to open fire upon them had no 
effect, and it was evident that they had little idea of 
the power of a gun. 

Whilst this was going on strenuous efforts were 
being made to persuade the motor-engine to start afresh. 
Ten minutes of violent turning of the fly-wheel left her 
as lifeless as before, and then suddenly, without anything 
more being done, she suddenly started into life again* 
It was particularly lucky for the Papuans that this 
did occur, as though we had no wish to use our 
weapons unless absolutely compelled to do so, blood 
would certainly have been shed had they advanced 
a second time. As, however, the launch was now run- 
ning well, we could afford to laugh at their disappointed 
looks as the boat set off at full speed down the river. 
On glancing back they were seen to be still in the same 
place, we hope satisfied at length that we could escape 
them when we chose. What became of the jungle 
party we never knew ; at any rate no further trouble 
was experienced, as this was the last time we were to 
come in contact with this avaricious and degraded tribe. 

Within an hour we had entered a glorious bay, five 
or six miles in length and one or two in width. Islands 
both large and small rose on either side from the still 
surface of the water, the channels between having a 
depth of eighteen feet or more. The bay as shown in 
the map is not quite as accurately defined as one could 

339 



A GLORIOUS BAY 

wish, owing to the loss of the prismatic compass, 
which slipped from my hands into the river as we were 
leaving the mouth of the Kamura. 

What an exquisite picture the bay presented, and one 
appreciated all the more on account of the scarcity of 
beautiful scenery in these parts, and the impossibility of 
obtaining an extensive view when in the enclosed and 
monotonous forest. Here lay islands and headlands, 
dark and sombre, but standing out distinct from one 
another as the sun caught the edges of their shores, 
their varied forms rising from the glassy pale-green 
waters of the lagoon, whose dark and sinuous creeks 
stretched into the jungle in all directions. Then to the 
south the blue ocean and the cloudless sky ; to the north 
masses of cumulus cloud rising into the blue vault of 
heaven, with the purple line of the foothills of the 
central range lying below. Altogether a pleasant, 
peaceful scene. 

We camped upon the sands just within the mouth 
of the bay, upon the site of an old fishing village and 
beneath a cluster of palms. From here the mouth of 
the elusive Wania River could be distinguished in the 
far north-eastern corner of the bay, but much as we 
longed to explore its waters, nothing could be accom- 
plished with the motor engine working so erratically as 
it had been doing of late. 

There was again an enforced halt of several hours 
at this place, the boat this time being left stranded on 
the fall of the tide. Our united efforts to push and 
heave her into deep water only resulted in our being 
covered from head to foot with a black and evil-smelling 
slime which, though exceedingly objectionable to us, 
proved to be the happy hunting-ground of innumerable 
fish. Shoals of gorgeous-coloured specimens collected 

340 



GORGEOUS-COLOURED FISH 

n the shade of the boat, possibly mistaking it for a 
floating tree-trunk from which grubs and other kinds 
of food might be procured. Greedily they sucked up 
the grains of rice thrown overboard, and even sipped 
the floating petrol without any apparent distaste. Every 
imaginable colour and shape seemed to have here a 
representative round fish and square fish, fish as flat as 
a piece of paper and as long and thin as pencils, spiky 
fish and smooth fish ; give them all a hundred vivid hues 
and brilliant spots, stripes and blotches, and some idea 
of the sight may be obtained. 

When once afloat we made for the Mimika at our 
best speed and, except for a few involuntary stops, 
arrived at Wakatimi without further mishap. 

During the previous fortnight the weather had been 
perfect, very different from that experienced in the 
corresponding season in 1910, when rain fell in torrents 
daily. Both years, I fancy, were exceptional, for in the 
former year much forest land upon which great trees 
had been growing for centuries was carried away by 
the flood, and in the middle of March 1911 the jungle 
was showing visible signs of being parched from want 
of rain. 



341 



CHAPTER XXIV 

Wania Bay An unexpected bar Our unfortunate motor boat A lost 
propeller A critical position Salving the launch A humorous com- 
parisonThe last voyage A welcome sight An unexpected rein- 
forcement 

A LL that now remained to be done in order to 
JLA. complete the map of the district was the explora- 
tion of the Wania River. I had already made four 
attempts, but from one cause or another had on each 
occasion been prevented from carrying out the work. 
This time I was determined to finish the matter, and 
as a breakdown of the motor boat seemed to be the 
only thing which could possibly occur to prevent our 
success, her engines were thoroughly overhauled and 
the smallest defects rectified. Everything promised 
well, and in the second week of March, Wollaston, 
Marshall, and I, together with seven men, packed the 
yawl with rations for a week, tied her astern, and 
started off in high spirits down the Mimika. 

We made good time to the mouth, passed the bar 
in safety, and with the aid of a strong current] within 
three hours were off the mouth of the Wania Bay, 
To my intense surprise, a bar of sand stretched from 
shore to shore across the very channel where I had 
passed a week before, and where we had been unable 
to find bottom with the eighteen-foot pole. Strong 
south-westerly winds had been blowing since then, but 
it seemed almost incredible that in such a short time 
the coast line could have become so changed and the 

342 



AN UNEXPECTED BAR 

deep entrance to the harbour completely closed by a 
bar of sand rising at least two feet above the surface 
of the water. It was only another example of how 
little dependence can be placed in harbours and en- 
trances along this portion of the coast as havens of 
refuge. 

Had the Kamura and Wania rivers been in flood, 
or had the rainfall been up to the average, this closing 
of the mouth could never have happened, as the volume 
of water descending from the mountains is in ordinary 
times sufficient to sweep away any obstruction. 

There was still another possible way of entering the 
river, namely by the eastern mouth, three miles farther 
along the coast. Here again we were checkmated, as 
the wild surf breaking on the bar clearly showed that 
there was no possibility of forcing a passage for many 
hours to come and until the tide was full. As the 
weather was becoming rapidly worse and a lengthy 
wait in this position was out of the question, we decided 
to return and take shelter for the night in the mouth 
of the Mimika. By so doing one day would be lost, 
but as there were ample provisions in the boats one 
day more or less made little difference. On heading 
to the west it was at once noticed how much the wind 
and sea had risen, which made us all the more anxious 
to get quickly to a harbour of refuge and in a position 
safe from any storm. The engines, upon which we 
could never place much reliance, were on this occasion 
working perfectly, and there was every reason to believe 
that within three hours we should be safely berthed for 
the night. Progress was slow, but the voyage was full 
of joy for those of us who loved the sea, and whatever 
the conditions might be it was better to be afloat than 
on dry land so we at that time thought. 

843 



A LOST PROPELLER 

When opposite to and about a couple of miles 
off the mouth of the Atoeka, the band connect- 
ing the magneto with the fly-wheel of the engine 
slipped off, but as this was an almost hourly occurrence 
no special attention was paid to it, and nothing much 
was thought of the fact that the engines immediately 
began to race at an abnormal speed. These latter were 
slowed down, the strap replaced, and we composed 
ourselves again to enjoy the exhilarating sensation of 
being tossed about during the remainder of the journey. 
The engines were now running smoothly enough, but 
to our horror the boat made not an inch of progress. 
Instinctively we guessed what had happened. A quick 
glance, first at the revolving shaft and then over the 
stern of the boat, made it clear at once that the worst 
of all possible disasters had overtaken us the propeller 
had worked loose from the shaft and had sunk to the 
bottom of the sea. Without a jar or a blow, without 
apparent cause or reason, the holding pin and nut had 
given way, and with them had gone the screw. When 
the launch was employed on convoy work on the river 
the screw had come in contact with sunken logs on so 
many occasions that, as a result, the propeller blades 
had been bent almost double, but being of good metal 
they had stood the re-straightening well ; the present 
accident, however, showed that more serious damage 
had been done to the shaft than had been imagined, 
and that the threads of the screw must have been torn 
almost smooth. 

The position we were now in was anything but 
pleasant. The two boats, one a crippled and leaky 
motor launch and the other a ship's yawl, containing 
ten men and a heavy load of stores, equipment and 
baggage, lay two miles off the land on an exposed 

344 



A CRITICAL POSITION 

shore, and twelve miles from the nearest known refuge. 
Besides this, we were surrounded by foam-covered reefs, 
in the teeth of a rising storm, and in a sea full of 
sharks. 

The yawl's pair of oars were quickly got out and she 
was put on to tow the launch, but so strong was the 
current that instead of making headway we steadily 
lost ground. The anchor therefore was dropped, and 
the yawl once more tied up in her old place astern. We 
had now no choice but to remain where we were and 
ride out the storm, trusting that the anchor would not 
drag, that we should escape being swamped, and most 
likely thing of all that the yawl's rope, which had 
already snapped once that day, would hold throughout 
the night. Were it to break again there would be little 
chance of any of the crew reaching land alive. 

Throughout the afternoon the wind increased in 
violence, and when night fell we were in a most critical 
position ; to partly compensate for this most of the crew 
were so ill that they cared little whether the boat floated 
or went to the bottom. Fortunately we were spared 
complete darkness, for the moon was at its full, but by 
her light we had distressing visions of the yawl being 
tossed hither and thither, and straining with horrid jerks 
at the rope which restrained her. She was, however, 
somewhat under the lee of the motor boat, and in 
that position partly sheltered from the full force of 
the waves. How the two boats tossed and rolled, 
twisted and turned ! In spite of the strain the anchor 
held fast, and except for shipping a few bucketsful of 
water we remained dry, which was something to be 
thankful for. At midnight, when affairs seemed to be 
reaching a climax, and there was but a hair's-breadth 
between our sinking or swimming, the wind ceased to 

345 



SHALLOW SEAS 

increase in violence, remained steady for half an hour, 
and then, to our intense relief, commenced to drop, 
and so continued till daybreak. 

In these shallow seas, for though we were fully two 
miles from land there were not over two fathoms of 
water under the keel, the sea falls as rapidly as it gets 
up, and before the sun was well above the horizon had 
dropped almost sufficiently to allow the yawl to set out 
for the shore. As the force of the current was as strong 
as ever, any attempt to tow the motor boat was hope- 
less. It was therefore decided to abandon her for the 
present, and if she did not sink in the meantime to salve 
her later on. The goods were slowly and with difficulty 
transhipped to the yawl, and when she was loaded with 
the ten men in addition, there remained but little free- 
board above the level of the water. 

The village of Nime lay only six miles away, and 
though we at first set out in the direction of this place, 
the waves broke so continuously over the boat and 
there was such evident danger of our being swamped, 
that a course was soon shaped for the nearer but treach- 
erous bay of Timoura, in the hope that some opening 
might be found through the foam-covered reef which 
closed its mouth. Fortune was again kind, and almost 
before we knew we were clear, a narrow channel opened 
before us and we had grounded upon a mudbank, tired 
out, soaked to the skin, but thankful enough to reach 
even such an inhospitable shore. The tide falling rapidly, 
we were compelled to remain here till midnight, when 
with the return of the water the boat floated once more, 
and an hour later shelter was obtained among the trees 
on the mainland. 

There was no time to waste if the leaky launch 
was to be saved, so disembarking the stores as quickly 

346 



A HUMOROUS COMPARISON 

as possible, we once more set forth and reached the 
launch at daybreak, to find her full of water but still 
floating ; taking her in tow she was grounded on the 
shore at midday. Here she became so firmly wedged 
that another night had to be spent waist-deep in the 
water working to refloat her, only to find when once 
we had succeeded that, although she would still keep 
above water, her old timbers had opened so much that 
she was little better than a sieve. 

Savages from the villages to the east and Nime to 
the west had appeared at intervals, keen as ever on the 
chance of doing a bit of trade, but as soon as we 
suggested that they might lend a hand and do a bit 
of work they at once made themselves scarce. At 
length a dozen strangers from the east were engaged 
to paddle the launch to Nim, and so well did these 
born watermen work that, with the aid of their long 
native paddles, they made the old boat travel nearly 
as fast as the yawl. There was a certain amount of 
humour in the sight of the modern motor boat, one of 
the latest -products of civilisation, being propelled by 
primitive paddles wielded by men who belonged to the 
stone age. 

That night we rested at Nime. With the exception 
of half a dozen men and boys, the one thousand to 
twelve hundred people formerly living here had dis- 
appeared on one of the peculiar and temporary migra- 
tions which these people seem so fond of undertaking. 
Why they should all have moved at once, unless it was 
that they had got tired of a place and wanted a change, 
I cannot tell. Fish were just as plentiful at Nime as 
before, and the sago swamps just as fruitful, but there 
must without doubt have been something more attractive 
inland or they would never have left their huts and 

347 



THE LAST VOYAGE 

splendid dancing halls for so long to the mercy of the 
storms. 

Two days later we were in the Mimika Bay, and 
the unfortunate journey was over ; five hours had been 
taken on the outward and five days on the return 
voyage, and the Wania had defeated us at the last. 
Though we much regretted that the survey of this fine 
river was and had to remain incomplete, it was no good 
crying over spilt milk. We were safely out of an 
awkward predicament, and that without any loss of 
life, which was something to be thankful for. 

This last day of the journey was a glorious one. I 
can picture the scene now, with the sea like glass and 
the sky free of cloud, and the two boats being paddled 
slowly forward by rows of garrulous and happy savages. 
We were not prepared to do any manual labour our- 
selves now that hired hands were available, and if the 
truth were told, we were unfit for it. The past fifteen 
months had left its mark on the survivors, and had 
brought them to a weaker state than was altogether 
pleasant. 

We were a contented party nevertheless, and were 
really thankful that this was to be the last voyage of 
the expedition. As we lay back in the boat, filling our 
lungs with the fresh sea air, and wondering how long 
it would be before we should leave the land for good, 
a roving eye was attracted by the smallest possible 
spiral of cloud on the horizon. First one saw it and 
then another, until at length everyone, black and white, 
began to speculate as to what it meant. Not for a 
moment would the Papuans allow that it was the fore- 
runner of a ship, and the wish being father to the 
thought, the Europeans and Gurkhas were just as firmly 
convinced that it was. Then it drifted and vanished, 

348 



A WELCOME SIGHT 

and we had to accept the scoffs and superior smiles of 
the dusky savages with what equanimity we could ; not 
for long, however, for in a few minutes another small 
cloud formed in the same place, and our spirits and 
conviction rose with a bound. Argument waxed and 
waned, until within an hour all doubt had vanished. 
Above the horizon crept the black spot of a funnel, 
then the hull of a steamer appeared, slowly growing 
larger and more distinct, until we could make out the 
line of the Zwaan as she came to a stop two miles out 
at sea, and the roar of her chains as she anchored came 
like music to our ears. 

Three months previously we had applied to the 
Dutch authorities in Java to request that transport 
might be despatched to the Mimika River to withdraw 
the expedition as soon after the 1st of April as was 
convenient. As it was now only the third week in 
March, the point we were eager to find out was whether 
the Zwaan was making one of her periodical visits to 
remove the sick, or whether she had arrived before the 
time appointed on the chance of our being ready to 
move. 

Speculation was but a waste of time we should 
know soon enough ; and as the prospect of being towed 
up the river to the base camp was preferable to a long 
and wearying struggle against the current, we lay to 
under the mangrove trees, chatting on the pleasant 
times to come, and watching through our glasses the 
preparations now being made to lower and take in tow 
the ship's boats. 

One, two, three six boats in addition to the launch. 
Hurrah ! then we were to be removed at once, and our 
journey to civilised lands was as good as begun. ^ As 
they drew clear of the Zwaan a horrid doubt crept into 

349 



AX UNEXPECTED REINFORCEMENT 

our minds, for the boats seemed to be uncommonly 
heavily laden, and the nearer they approached the more 
peculiar became their appearance. Dozens of khaki- 
clad men, different in appearance to the like of anything 
seen before sat in silent rows, with red fezzes on their 
heads and in a spick and span uniform. 

What were these people doing here ; why had they 
come, and who were they ? I hailed the launch, and on 
going on board, full of curiosity, was introduced to Mr. 
Boden-Kloss of the Kuala Lumpur Museum. From 
him I learnt, for the first time, that he, together with 
thirty-eight Dyaks from Sarawak, and stores for six 
months, had been despatched by order of the Home 
Committee to join the expedition. This was the last 
thing in the world we had expected, and in our then 
condition the least welcome, for we had received no 
intimation of this reinforcement, and no news that such 
an event was contemplated. These Dyaks, the only 
men at all suitable for transport work in New Guinea, 
for whom we had been begging from the very start of 
the expedition were, without warning, sent out to join 
us fifteen months after our first landing, three months 
after we had sent our application to be withdrawn, and 
many months after the date originally determined for 
the closing of the expedition. Moreover, they had 
arrived just when the wettest and impossible season for 
travel was commencing, when all collections which we 
had contemplated making in the district had been com- 
pleted and the specimens actually packed, and when 
the whole force was prepared for immediate departure. 
Parimau had been abandoned to the natives, and the 
camps allowed to fall into disrepair. 

To postpone our departure for a further term of 
months would be profitless waste of time. This fact 

350 



LIMIT OF TIME FOR SERVICE 

alone, that the principal members of the expedition had 
been in the country for a year and a quarter, was 
sufficient, in itself, to necessitate the withdrawal of the 
force. Eight months is the maximum period allowed 
by the Dutch authorities for continuous service on 
these expeditions in New Guinea, as this has been 
found by experience to be the utmost limit of time 
a man can stand the climate without serious injury to 
his health. 

Our own past experiences had taught us that, for 
the vast majority of men imported from the East 
Indian Islands, a period of four months spent in con- 
tinuous work is as much as can be counted on in 
a climate such as is to be found in the south-western 
districts of the island. Cramer, Wollaston, Marshall, 
and myself, four Gurkhas and three of the escort were 
the sole remaining members both of the original ex- 
pedition landed fifteen months before and the four 
hundred imported during the first year. We were 
the only men whose stay had exceeded eight months' 
duration. 

The recruiting and despatch of this force of Dyaks 
was one of the most unfortunate episodes of the expedi- 
tion, and is only one more example of how hopeless it 
is to try to manage an expedition from a distant base, 
instead of leaving things to be arranged by men who, 
being on the spot, are the best judges of what measures 
should be taken to ensure success. Had the Dyaks 
been enlisted six or nine months earlier, when the 
unsuitability of the ordinary Malay for heavy work in 
New Guinea had been amply proved, their services 
would have been invaluable, although, even then, the 
men were too few in number to have enabled us to 
move any considerable distance into the mountains. 

851 



WAITING FOR THE TRANSPORTS 

To land them without warning at Wakatimi during 
the final weeks of the expedition was inexcusable. 

Mr. Kloss, grievous as the disappointment must have 
been, as soon as he had seen the camp and realised 
how matters stood, was entirely in accord with our 
views as to the necessity for immediate withdrawal; 
in the morning he returned to the Zwaa?i 9 taking with 
him his own men and every sick soldier or coolie for 
whom accommodation could be found. 

We watched them depart with mixed feelings ; our 
disappointment that we were not of the party was 
mitigated by the knowledge that our turn would soon 
come, for they would carry the news to Amboina of 
our anxiety to leave. Still more boxes were packed 
and stored ready for removal, and the finishing touches 
having been given to this work, we sat down to wait, 
with what patience we could, for the coming of the 
transports. 



352 



CHAPTER XXV 

Completed work Results of the expedition Disappointed hopes Belief 
ships Anticipating trouble Scenes of turmoil Civilising influence 
Dok> Dispersal of the expedition Dutch hospitality 

IN those pleasant quiet evenings spent by the river, 
enjoying the good things left behind by Kloss, our 
minds free from the worries of transport and from the 
difficulties of surmounting the ever recurring natural 
obstructions, we had plenty of time to review the 
labours of the past year, to balance the pros and cons, 
to weigh the successes against the failures, and to 
question whether the collections might have been still 
further enriched or the survey extended. 

The expedition was over and the work complete. 
All that man could do to form the collections and com- 
plete the survey had been done, and we were entitled 
to rest from our labours. With the one exception of 
the snows not having been reached, every other object 
for which we had set out had been attained, and although 
the time expended and the loss of life entailed had been 
in excess of what had been anticipated, yet the obstacles 
encountered had been greater than what we had been 
led to expect and for which provision had been made. 
On the whole we had little to reproach ourselves with, 
and much with which to be content. 

Close at hand for the museums were packed 2200 
skins of birds comprising 235 species, many of which 
were new to science ; six cases of mammal skins ; many 
tanks and bottles of reptiles ; entomological specimens ; 

353 z 



RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION 

quantities of ethnographical objects of great interest 
and value, and, what appealed to Marshall and myself 
still more, a map of 3000 square miles of a hitherto 
unknown land, complete in every detail, from the 
highest peaks of newly-discovered mountains to the 
sluggish rivers of the plains. Amongst other discoveries 
of geographical interest must not be forgotten the snow 
mountains of Idenburg, the castellated peaks of Leonard 
Darwin, and the greatest precipice in the world. In 
addition, new races of man had been encountered and 
studied, tribes hitherto unknown and still living in the 
stone age. But of more human interest than all these 
was the discovery of the Tapiro pygmies, a really re- 
markable find at this period of the world's history, and 
sufficient in itself to have warranted the despatch of 
the expedition. 

In the attempt to reach the snows of Carstensz we 
had accomplished the longest cross-country journey 
ever attempted in Dutch New Guinea. Against these 
gains had to be placed the one failure to reach the 
snows. We could, however, console ourselves with the 
thought that few expeditions, and least of all those on 
pioneer journeys, succeed in attaining the full summit 
of their desires, and in our case we had the knowledge 
that, with the Mimika River as a line of communica- 
tion, this particular feat was impossible. At the con- 
clusion we had much to be thankful for, since at one 
period the outlook had been so dark and the prospects 
of an advance into the mountains so hopeless, that the 
withdrawal and reorganisation of the expedition had 
been seriously discussed. The number of lives sacri- 
ficed in obtaining these results had been large, but not 
much more so than is usual in expeditions of this kind 
and undertaken in a country approaching the un- 

354 



DISAPPOINTED HOPES 

healthiness of New Guinea. Accidents and disease 
had taken a heavy toll, but 

No game was ever yet worth a rap 

For a rational man to play, 
Into which no accident, no mishap 

Could possibly find its way. 

We had gained much valuable experience which will 
be useful to others. As I write Wollaston has set forth 
again with a most perfectly equipped expedition, taking 
a new and greater river as his line of advance, and 
there can be little doubt, provided no unforeseen disaster 
overtakes him, that his ambition to reach Carstensz by 
this route will this time be realised. 

Day followed day with monotonous regularity. 
From early dawn on to eleven o'clock our minds were 
full of pleasurable anticipation that the final day had 
arrived. From that hour to two o'clock our ears were 
strained to catch the sound of a launch's whistle as she 
entered the straight before the camp ; and then, as the 
minutes passed by and there was no sign, our hopes 
would steadily dwindle till dusk came and the last 
chance had vanished for the day. With our nerves 
strung to the highest pitch of expectancy, it was inevit- 
able that false alarms and reports should find currency 
in the camp on several occasions ; these were generally 
caused by the warning cries of the Papuans, who under- 
stood quite well what we were expecting, and were 
likewise infected with the spirit of anticipation ; or it 
might be by the sound of a falling tree in the forest, 
the breaking stems being taken over and over again for 
the reports of signal guns fired by an arriving ship. So 
realistic were some of the latter that on one occasion 
the Dutch, after hurriedly changing into their best 
clothes, manned the yawl and pulled to the mouth of 

355 



ANTICIPATING TROUBLE 

the river, returning weary and depressed long after mid- 
night with the news that their quest had been in vain. 

Even-thing, however, comes to him who waits, and 
on 5th April such a shout went up from the village 
opposite as to leave no possible doubt that the relief 
ships were off the coast at last. Our old friend the 
Z\*:aan had arrived, closely followed by the gunboat 
JIataram, with orders that no time was to be lost in 
removing the expedition to Amboina. 

Not since our first landing in the country had the 
camp so throbbed with animation ; and though it was 
fully recognised that two whole days would be required 
to remove the men and stores, yet so intense was the 
anxiety to be off, and so great the fear that the ships 
might depart and leave the laggards to spend the 
remainder of their lives on these inhospitable shores, 
that the coolies could scarcely be dissuaded from placing 
their boxes on the pier and sitting upon them through- 
out the dark hours of the night. 

During the two following days the work of trans- 
portation was carried on apace, every movement being 
eagerly watched by hundreds of wild-looking Papuans 
who had been drawn to the camp from neighbouring 
and distant villages by the prospect of obtaining a share 
of the stores, which they knew would be abandoned on 
our departure. To judge by the number of weapons 
carried, trouble over the division of the spoil was antici- 
pated; and as each village in the district was represented, 
it is more than likely that many fights subsequently took 
place. No traces of pleasure or of sorrow were visible 
whereby an inkling might be gained as to their real 
feelings concerning our coming departure out of their 
midst. Their expressions and looks were a compound 
of suspicion and greed, suspicion that we might 
yet be tempted to change our hitherto exemplary be- 

356 



SCENES OF TURMOIL 

haviour and work them some harm (for they never could 
fathom the reason of our stay), and greed engendered 
by the sight of the accumulated heaps of rubbish which 
they knew we would leave behind. 

On 7th April I left by the last trip but one made by 
the launch, and by so doing missed the scene which took 
place when the last party stood on the pier and the camp 
was given over to the tender mercy of the Papuans. 

In one moment the savage throng had burst through 
the palings surrounding the buildings, and proved them- 
selves to be as wild and quarrelsome now as they had 
been when we first came amongst them. Whilst men 
and women fought with one another in the mad lust for 
loot, to seize upon and carry off what they most coveted, 
and whilst the armed and the defenceless struggled to- 
gether to be the first to enter the huts, the last members 
of the expedition stepped into the boats and passed 
quietly down-stream, to the accompaniment of angry 
cries reverberating through the camp, unnoticed by those 
amongst whom they had lived so long ; the bend of the 
river and the gathering dusk quickly hid from view 
both the village of Wakatimi and the camp upon which 
so much care and labour had been spent. Wild shrieks 
had greeted us on our first arrival in the country, and 
wild shrieks echoed down the still reaches of the river 
as the boats crept towards the sea. It is easy to imagine 
the scenes of riotous turmoil which that night swept 
over the village of Wakatimi and on the other side 
of the river, and to picture the ghostly forms of the 
savages as, full of greed and covetousness, they wandered 
with flickering torches through the deserted huts seek- 
ing for what might have been overlooked in the wild 
rush of the evening. 

Around the Mataram and the Zwaan the waters 
were quiet and deserted ; the canoes, which had been 

ft/W 



CIVILISING INFLUENCE 

lying off all day, had vanished silently and mysteriously 
as darkness fell, their crews possibly little realising that 
they would see us no more. Will any of the living 
generation of Mirnika Papuans ever see a white man 
again ? It is most unlikely ; and all that their descend- 
ants will have to remind them of the strange race, 
who so unexpectedly came into their midst, will be the 
stories of our visit recorded in songs chorused round the 
hut-fires in the evenings, or the history attached to the 
axes, scraps of metal, beads, and precious odds and ends 
handed down from father to son as family heirlooms. 

I am firmly convinced that our contact with the 
Parimau and up-river people must have had a good and 
civilising influence upon them. They certainly saw 
enough of us to learn some of the advantages of peace 
and industry, to learn what it meant to be able to trust 
the words of others, and to realise that honesty paid 
better than deceit. As a by-remark, it is worth noting 
that when these people were in danger of losing their 
most precious goods they actually brought their things 
over to our side of the river, leaving them near our huts 
without any protection whatever, knowing that under 
our care their possessions were safe. As to the results 
of our attempts to introduce a measure of civilisation 
amongst the coast tribes I am less sanguine, but at 
any rate we can feel certain that we did them no harm, 
arid may have done good. At the very least, their hard 
lives have been temporarily made less laborious owing 
to the great influx of axes and tools, and this alone 
may make them aspire to a slightly higher plane of 
civilisation. Our departure from either place was quite 
enough to show the different degrees in which our influ- 
ence had been felt, for the Parimau people, however 
shallow in reality may have been their sorrow, had had 
sufficient feeling to lavish demonstrative grief upon the 

ft/SB 



DISPERSAL OF THE EXPEDITION 

Europeans and Gurkhas when the final greetings took 
place. With the Wakatimi people the reverse was the 
case. 

Dobo, the principal and only important village in 
the Aru Islands, was reached on the following afternoon, 
and the dilapidated motor boat and much of the surplus 
stores handed over to the hospitable members of the 
Celebes Trading Company. The boat was soon sold to 
one of the many eager buyers, but though one year has 
passed since then, I understand that they are still look- 
ing for a purchaser, or anyone who will even remove 
the cases of pea-flour supplied for the use of the expedi- 
tion when 011 the Equator ! 

On 10th April we entered the exquisite bay of the 
island of Banda, the richest of the spice islands, and in 
the olden days the jewel of the East, for the possession 
of which innumerable wars have been waged in bygone 
times. Now all its artificial glory has departed ; the 
splendid palaces of the merchants are in decay or ruin, 
whilst in the port stagnation reigns in place of the 
former busy activity. 

At Amboina the dispersal of the expedition began, 
the Javanese troops moving to their respective stations, 
and the coolies to their homes in the neighbouring 
islands. We had hoped that Cramer would have 
accompanied us to Java, but the early symptoms of 
beri-beri had set in ; he being, therefore, the first, but 
by no means the last of the survivors to fall ill owing 
to the after-results of an over-strenuous journey. 
From a military point of view, no better officer could 
have been selected to command the escort, and from 
the expeditionary standpoint one could not have wished 
for a more tactful comrade. Those who have travelled 
under conditions of hardship in the more desolate 
countries of the earth will understand the many high 

359 



DISPERSAL OF THE EXPEDITION 

qualities which must be possessed, even by one's closest 
friends, in order that affairs may progress in harmony 
and goodwill ; how much more so must be the case 
when one's companions are those of another nationality. 
Throughout the journey from Java to New Guinea, 
and from New Guinea back again to Amboina, we 
were the guests of the Dutch Government, whose 
generosity and hospitality so materially helped to start 
the expedition and bring it to a successful conclusion. 
It is impossible for individuals adequately to mark their 
appreciation of the spontaneous and friendly act of a 
foreign government, and we can but remember that such 
courtesies do much to increase the natural friendly rela- 
tions and good feeling of the nations concerned. 

The few remaining Gurkhas left us at Singapore, 
and before long reached their mountain homes in 
the Himalayas, preceded by their excellent Havildar, 
Mehesur Singh, rich in this world's goods, and with 
the knowledge that they had maintained the good 
name of their race, and that their work had materially 
contributed to enrich the collections and make possible 
the advance into the mountains. 

The remaining members of the expedition received 
every possible assistance from the Board and repre- 
sentatives of the P. & O. Company, ever generous 
where scientific research is concerned, and reached 
England on 25th Slay, twenty months after having left 
her shores. There we separated, Wollaston to prepare 
for fresh travels and Marshall to take a temporary rest 
after his two climatically opposed journeys one in the 
coldest area of the world's surface, and the other under 
the Equator. 

May success attend them both ! 



360 



INDEX 



A 



Aboriginal, the primitive, 71, 112 

Aeta, the, 207, 277 

Age, rapid advance of, 133 

Aiika River, the, 317 

Albinos, 55, 189 

Alligators, 294 

Amboina, 35, 58, 103 ; coolies from, 

154, 359 

Andamanese, the, 269, 277 
Animals. See mammals and birds 
Anopheles mosquito, the, 89, 134, 229 
Arifuia Sea, the, 322 
Arrival at the coast, 41 
Arrows, pygmy, 259 
Arts and crafts of the pygmies, 274 
Arn Islands, the, 155 
Atabo, disease at, 133 ; idol at, 138, 

171, 281, 286 
Atoeka River, the, 188 ; survey of, 330; 

village of, 332 
Axes, pygmy, 120 ; value of, 155, 328, 

334, 358 



B 



Bali Island, 36 

Banana plantations, 65, 104 

Banda Island, 357 

Barter, exchange, 70, 79; with the 
pygmies, 119 

Beer, 52, 61 

Beri-beri, 231, 232, 234, 359 

Birds the Hornbill, 87, 106 ; Crown 
pigeons, 87, 106 ; Cassowaries, 124, 
125 ; pets, 125 ; the Bower-bird, 149 ; 
Fitters, 150; Birds of Paradise, 150, 
151, 216, 246 ; pigeons, 289 ; Brush 
Turkey, 289 ; Honeyeaters, 151 ; 
Fly-catchers, 151; Flower-peckers, 
151; Sun-birds, 151; Kingfishers, 
87 

Birth, 131 

Blue-bottles, a plague of, 199 

Boden Kloss, Mr., 350, 352, 353 

Bower-biid, the, 149 



j Bows an'l arrows, 272 

J Bridge over the Iwaka, 300, 325 

i British Ornithologists' Union, 25, 2^ ; 

j the committee, w 27, 291, 350 

i Brush Turkey, 289 

Burial customs, 133, 136, 224 ; among 
the pygmies, 275 

Buton Island, 280 



Cannibalism, 71, 73 

Canoe convoys, 86 

Canoeing, difficulties of. 104, 237; 

dexterous, 144 
Canoes, construction of, 77 ; purchase 

of, 79 ; Dreadnought, the, 171 ; loss 

of, 239 
Carriers, 30, 34, 36 ; strange conduct 

of, 197, 213 ; nervous, 249 
Carstensz, Janz, 21 
Carstensz, Mount, 25, 35, 38, 40, 84, 

220, 318, 321-323, 354 
Carteret, Captain, 21 
Cassowaries, hunting, 124, 125 
Casuarina trees, 40, 201, 212 
Central Range, 21, 241. Sec Nassau 

Range 

Chalmers, Rev. James, 22, 73 
Characteristics, 71; of the pygmies, 

252 

Charles Louis Mountains, 40, 243, 317 
Children, treatment of, 62, 131, 286 
Chinese, influence of the, 133 

jar, a, 189 

Cicatrisation, 60 

Cinematograph, a, 221 

Civilisation, effect of, 58 

Clearings, pygmy, 256 

Climate, 38, 49, 81, 85, 127, 190-19o, 

252, 313 

Cloth, the value of, 156 
Clothing, 57, 59, 207, 228 
Clubs, 178, 334 
Coal, 303, 320 
Coast line, the, 39, 317, 330 
tribes, the, 53, 181, 331-335 



361 



INDEX 



Cock's Comb Mountain, 320 

Coffins, 136, 224 

Collectors, 29 

Communal building, a, 49 

Concerts at Atabo, 281 

Convict carriers, 34 

Cook, Captain, 21 

Coolies, 36, 82; selecting coolie trans- 
port, 83, 152 ; fever amongst, 153, 
203, 291 ; miserable, 316 

Copper, 303 

Courage of the natives, 139 

Crabs, armies of, 286 

Cramer, Lieut. H. A., 33, 45, 81, 104, 
163, 1TO, 244, 297, 301, 359 

Creepers and parasites, 98 

Crown pigeons, 106 

Cariosity of tbe natives, 183 

Cuscus, the, 125 

Customs, 131, 238 

D 

Dalrymple, 20 

Dampier, William, 21 

Dances, native, 48 

Dancing ball, at Parimau, 123 ; at 

Atabo, 281 ; at Atoeka, 332 
D'Albertis,22 

Darwin, Leonard, Mt., 318, 354 
D'Bntrecasteau, 21 
D'Umlle, Colonel, 22 
De Meneses, Jorge, 19 
De Retes, Orfeis, 20 
De Saavedra, Alvro, 20 
De Torres, Louis Yaiz, 20 
Dead, disposal of the, 75, 224 ; among 

the pygmies, 275 
Death customs, 133, 135 

of Mr. Stalker, and others, 82 

Decorative arts of the pygmies, 274 
Desertions, strange, of the Papuans, 

101 

Diet, native, 49, 63, 239 
Disasters on coast of New Guinea, 22 
Discoveries, 354 
Diseases, 133 ; malaria, 134 
Dishonoured notes, 167, 232 
Dobo, 37, 170, 191 ; pearl-fishers, 232, 

359 

Dogs, native, 124 ; of the pygmies, 255 
Drawings, native, 185 
Dress of the pygmies, 111, 255 
Drink and its effects, 61 
Dutch co-operation, 35 

Government, kindness of the, 360 

in New Guinea, 21, 22 

section, the, 29 

Dyak recruits, 350 



E 



East Indies, division of, 19 
Edwards, 21 

Electric torch, effects of an, 140 
Englehart and the simple life, 207 
Ethnological discoveries, 354 
Explorers of New Guinea 

Dutch, 20, 21, 23 

English, 21 

Spanish and Portuguese, 19, 20 

Eye, representations of the, 333 



False alarm, a, 284 

Fauna of Mimika River, 87 ; of the 

Wataikwa, 204 
Festival, a pig, 160 
Fighting at Parimau, 96 
Fights, village, 157 
Fire-drill, the, 273 
Fire-making, 272 
Fire-plough, the, 273 
Fire-saw, the, 273 
Fire-sticks of the pygmies, 111 
Fire-strap, the, 273 
Fish, 340 

Fish-hooks, native made, 288 
Fishing, native method of, 288 
Fishing-nets of spider's web, 289 
Flies, New Guinea, 199 
Floods, 128, 143, 175, 191, 206, 222, 

239, 300 

Flora of Mimika River, 86 
Flower-peckers, 151 
Fly-catchers, 151 
Fly River, the, 22 
Food supplies, 31, 211 
Forest growth, density of, 98, 99, 219 
Free trade, English rights of, 21 
Fruits and vegetables, 66 
Funeral of a Natu, the, 224 
Future life, belief in, 139 



G 



Game in New Guinea, 64, 88 

Games and sports, 287 

Geographical discoveries, 319, 354 

God, belief in, 138 

Godman, Mount, 298, 318 

Gong, an old brass, 104 

Goodfellow, Walter, 28, 3& 45, 84, 103, 

170,190,200,215,217,234 
Grant, Mr, C. H., 226, 243, 246, 247, 

298, 299, 325 



362 



INDEX 



Grass helmets of the pygmies, 111 
Greater Bird of Paradise, 151, 216 
Greeting, a Papuan, 43, 93 
Grey mullet, 285 
Grub-bearing palm, the, 64 
Gurkhas, engagement of, 30, 33, 76, 
232, 360 



Habits and manners, 181 

Hair of the pygmies, 252 

Hairdressing, native, 55 

Halley's comet, 193 

Harpoon, the, 288 

Harrison, Dr. H. S., 265 

Hayes, Captain, 21 

Headman of Nime*, 182 ; of Wambirimi, 

262 

HerkerJib,310 

Highway robbery at Parimau, 163 
Himalayan suspension bridges, 311 

Honey-eaters, 151 

Hornbill, the, 106 

toughness of, 87, 106 

Horse-shoe, an unlucky, 236 

Hospitality at Ibo, 146 ; at Nime, 177 

House-moving, 148 

Houses, native, 49; our houses at 
Wakatimi, 170 

Hurricane, a, 329 

Huts at Parimau, 122; on piles, 175; 



K 



Ibo, the track to, 142; village, 145, 196, 

198, 295 

Idenburg Mountains, 227, 321 
Idols, 138 
Iguanas, 87 
Indolence, native, 67 
Insect pests, 90 
Instruments, surveying, 220 
Iron ore, 303 

Island River expedition, 321 
Iwaka River, Birds of Paradise on the, 

151, 212, 217, 244, 302 



Jangbir, the plucky Gurkha, 309, 336 

Jansz, Captain WiUem, 20 

Japanese, stature of the, 265 

Java, 35 

Javanese coolies, 34, 154 

Jungle, a New Guinea, 204 

path, 116 



Kaiqua River, the, 174, 179 ; Kaiqua 

village, 180 
^amura River, the, 145, 201, 334; 

village of, 337 
KaparS River, the, 99, 104, 105 f 114, 

121, 188, 243, 322 
Kei islanders, 189 
Kerosene oil, 303, 320 

oil tins, value of, 155 

Ketchang Idjoe, the, 232 
King Bird of Paradise, the, 150 
Knives, value of, 155 
Kokonau, 284 
Kolff, 22 

L 

Land cultivation, 63 
Landing, preliminary negotiations, 43 
Language, 76; difficulties, 112, 116, 
129 

of signs, 76 

Launch, European necessity of, 79 
Leeches, 90, 210, 229 
Le Maine, 21 

Leonard Darwin, Mount, 318, 354 
Lombok Island, 36 
Looking-glass, the effect of a, 154 
Loquacity of the native, 187 
Lorentsz, Dr., 27, 303, 323 



M 



MacCluer, Lieutenant, 21 

Macgregor, 22 

Mackellar, Mr. C. IX, 235 

Maclay, 22 

Magnificent Bird of Paradise, 151 

Malaria, 134, 200, 229 

Malays, 30 

Mamberano expedition, the, 231 

Mammals, 89, 125, 149 

Mangrove swamp, 175 

Manucodes, 151 

Marriage, 131 

Marshall, Dr. E., 29, 104, 121, 134, 142, 

152, 167, 196, 200, 217, 230, 281, 285, 

304 

Marsupials, 149 
Matoram, the, 356 
Mate Dell, 21 

Measurements of pygmies, 115, 358 
Medicine, native ignorance of, 134; 

appreciation of, 229 
Mehesur Sing, 360 
Merauke, 280 
Migration, a, 340,347 

363 



INDEX 



Milne Bay, 20 ; tribes in, 73 

Mimika district, disembarkation in, 

30, 38; inhabited portion of, 53; 

cannibalism, 74 ; customs, 131 
Mimika River, 22 ; first journey up the, 

45, 47 ; natives' welcome, 48 , in flood, 

78 ; navigation of , 85 ; flora and fauna 

of, 86-89; an eastward path, 127; 

a flood, 128, 191; idol in, 138; 

Mimika Papuan not an expert thief, 

166; motor launch on the, 194, 201, 

206,292 

Monogamy among the pygmies, 275 
Morality, 58 
Moresby, Admiral, 22 
Morning on the Mimika River, 92 
Mortality amongst the Papuans, 230 ; 

amongst the expedition, 354 
Mosquito nets, 233 
Mosquitoes, 89, 138, 199, 228 
Motor launch, 190, 194, 235, 291, 330, 

336 

Mountain home, pygmies', 11 7, 118 
Mountains, Charles Louis, 40; Car- 

stensz, 40, 102 ; Snowy Range, 40 ; 

to the north, 202, 205, 312 
Murder in camp, a double, 295 
Museum, specimens for the, 353 
Music, native, 281 
Musical instruments of the pygmies, 

274 



N 



Nassau Range, the, 220, 227, 243, 319 
Nate and the snake, 140 
Natives, hostility of, 22, reception of 
Europeans, 42; boarding the Nias, 
44 ; curiosity, 52, 183 ; coast tribes, 
53; up-river natives, 53; pygmies, 
53 \ plainsmen, S3 ; hair-dressing, 55 ; 
morality, 58; clothing, 58; orna- 
mentation, 57, 59; effect of drink, 
61 ; children, 62 ; women, 63 ; diet, 
49, 63, 239; indolence of, 67; 
desire to trade, 70 ; primitive char- 
acteristics, 71 ; cannibalism, 71, 73 ; 
recuperative powers of the, 135; 
courage, 139; aversion from work, 
152; strange conduct of, 147, 197; 
types, 181; draughtsmanship, 185; 
loquacity, 187; gratitude, 230; 
numerals, 255 

Native beaten by his wife, a, 61 
Natu, the, 174, 224 
Navigation of Mimika River, 85 
Necklaces of the pygmies, 254 
Negritos and Negrillos, 267, 277 
Net-bags of the pygmies, 253 



364 



New Guinea, discovery of, 19, 20 

christening of, 20 

British section of, 20 

Spanish and Portuguese in, 19, 

20 

Dutch in, 21, 23 

travellers in, 20-22 

Germans in, 23 

British possessions in, 23 

difficulties of exploration, 24 

general aspect of, 38 

climate, 38 

first impressions, 40 

arrival at the coast, 41 

Game in, 64 ; fruits and vege- 
tables, 66 ; fauna and flora, 86 
New world, discovery of, 18 
Nias, the, 40, 41 ; boarded by savages, 

44, 82, 182 
Nim<, idol at, 138; village of, 173; 

trade at, 177 ; natives, 181, 346 
Nord River, the, 303, 323 
North coast, 22 
Novelty and amusement, 186 
Numerals, 255 



O 



Obota, village of, 65, 104, 188; river, 

191,206 

" Oewera-mina," 130 
Oil, 303, 320 
Ornamentation, personal, 57, 59; 

pygmy, 254 



Paddling and poling, 153, 237 

Pain, the native's endurance of, 140 

Papal Bull, a, 19 

Papua, 19, 20, 23 

Paeradisea, Apoda, 217 n. 

Parimau, 95, 121; huts at, 122; cus- 
toms at, 132 ; snakes at, 139 ; rob- 
bery at, 162 ; natives, 169, 181, 185, 
199 ; flood at, 222, 237, 239 

Periepia River, the, 105 

Pets of our followers, 125 

Photography, 220 

Pictures and photographs, 184 

Pigeons, 289 

Pigs at Parimau, 123, 159 

Pile-dwellings, 272 

Pioneers in the Americas, 18 

Pittars, 150 

Plainsmen, 53 

Plant cultivation among the pygmies, 
272 

Plum-pudding, our, 326 



INDEX 



Portlock, 21 

Portuguese In New Guinea, 19, 20 

Postama, Lieutenant, 320 

Precipice, the great, 102, 242, 318 

Prison in Dobo, a, 37 

Privacy, lack of, 183 

Propeller, loss of OUT, 344 

Prospecting party, the first, 80 

Provisions, stocking the, 30 

Pubic covering, 59 ; of pygmies, 111 

Pulman, 118 

Puria River, the, 196, 206 

Pygmies, 27, 53 ; a chase, 108; origin, 
113 ; another capture, 114 ; measure- 
ments, 115 ; a mountain home, 117, 
118, 242, 249 ; hair, 252 ; dress, 253 ; 
ornaments, 254 ; weapons, 255 ; huts, 
255 ; women, 257 ; measurements, 
258, 264; and plainsmen, 260; a 
headman, 262; physical character- 
istics, 266 ; origin, 269 ; use of stone, 
274 ,; arts and crafts, 274; ornamenta- 
tion, 274 ; musical instruments, 274 ; 
tribal organisation, 275 ; monogamy, 
275 ; women, 275, 328 

Python, a fine, 91, 216 



Rains, heavy, 75, 105, 200; in the 

Mimika district, 218, 294 
Rats, 149, 193, 248 
Rattan cuirasses, 255 
Reeves, survey instrument, 220 
Religion, 138 
Renaissance, the, 17, 18 
Rifle bird, the, 210 
Rites and ceremonies, 131 
Robbery on the river, 163 
Rock formation of the Iwaka valley, 

303, 320 

Rothmeyer, Commander, 190 
Route chosen, the, 36 
Eoute to the north, a, 75 
Royal Geographical Society, 29, 220 



8 



Sago swamps, 104 

Salt as a trading medium, 156, 186 

Savages of the interior, 182 

Schouten, 21 

Secret societies and customs, 138 

Semang, the, 267, 277 

Shackleton, Sir E., 29 

Shark-fishing, 68 

Shipwreck story, a, 72 



Shortridge, G. a, 28, 106 ; and the 
eastward path, 126; and the rati, 
149, 185, 190, 226, 243, 280 

Sick, care of the, 135 

Simian origin of the pygmies, 271 

Simple life in New Guinea, the, 207 

Singing by the men, 281 

Sixteenth century, life in, 17, 18 

Six-wired Bird of Paradise, 151 

Skin colour of the pygmies, 268 

Skulls, a market in, 137 

Slate, 303, 320 

Snakes, 91, 139, 210 

Snow Mountains, the. See Carstensz 

Soil, fertility of the, 66, 98 

South-east coast, British annexation of, 
22 

Spaniards in New Guinea, 19, 20 

Spice Islands, the, 19, 20 

Spiders' webs as fishing-net, 289 

Staff, the European, 29 

Stalker, W., 28, 36; death of, 80, 
226 

Stature of the Tapiro pygmies, 266 

Stealing amongst the Papuans, 166 

Steam-launch for transport work, 
169 

Stone clubs, 178 ; implements, 273 

Stores, our, 106, 226 

String bags of the pygmies, 111 

Sugar palm-trees, 52, 61 

Sun-birds, 151 

Supplies of food, 31, 211 

Supply and demand, the natives' con- 
ception of, 228 

Survey Staff, the, 27 

Surveying, difficulties of, 216 ; instru- 
ments, 220 ; in the mountains, 317 ; 
the east coast, 330 

Swampy land, 171 



T 



Tapiro Peak, 219, 246, 322 

Tapiro pygmies, 53, 110, 112, 130 

TarobS, 281 

Tasman, Abel Janez, 21 

Tattooing, 59, 69, 145 

Tea, 187 

Tears in welcome, shedding of, 94 n 

Teeth, filing of the, 74 

Teysmann, 22 

Timoura, bay of, 346 

Timoura River, the, 180 

Tin, 303 

Tobacco, 104 ; pygmy, 260 

Tools, 67 



365 



INDEX 



Torres Straits, discovery of the, 20; 
English possession of, 21 

Tourapaya, Village of, 170 ; flood at, 
192 

Trade articles, 154 ; at Nim^, 177 

Trail, forming a, 98 

Transport arrangements, 30; difficul- 
ties of, 169 

Trees, giant, 98 ; difficulties of felling, 
120,227 

Tribal marks, 145 

Tribal organisation of the pygmies, 
275 

Tropical jungle, density of the, 227 

Tuaba River, the, 143; village, 147, 
200, 206, 241, 300 ; Mountain, 520 

Types of natives, 181 

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, 151 



U 

Union Jack, the, 43 
Up-river tribes, 53, 95, 181 
Utakwa River, the, 34, 280, 320 



Van der Bie, Lieutenant, 320 

Van Herwerden, 42 

Vegetation, luxuriant, 122; along the 

Atoeka River, 188 ; on the Wataikwa, 

204, 209, 304, 314 
Village brawls, 96, 157 
Vniages, 36 ; Wakatimi, 48, 49 
Vocabulary, compiling a, 76 
Von Daalen, General, 33 



W 

Wailing as a welcome, 138 
Wakatimi, 48, 61, 103, 121 ; hospital 

at, 153; natives, 169; camp, 170; 

flood at, 191 ; illness at, 235 
Wallace, 22 
Wambirimi, 247 

Wania Village, 165 ; River, 235, 340, 342 
Wataikwa River, the, 196 ; course of, 

203; fauna and flora of, 204, 206, 

217, 244, 300 ; source of, 506 
Water sport amongst the natives, 287 
Watuka River, the, 47, 84, 149, 293 
Welcome of Europeans, native, 47 
Welcome by women, an extraordinary, 

93 

Whisky, effects of, on a native, 187 
Widows, dress worn by, 59 ; " weeds," 

136 

Wilhelmina Peak, 322, 323 
Wives, treatment of, 96, 132, 169 
Wollaston, A. F. R., 28, 97, 104, 117, 

121, 152, 167, 200, 230, 280, 291, 301, 

321, 355 
Women, position of, 63 ; extraordinary 

welcome by, 93 ; in Parimau, 95 ; in 

Ibo, 146 ; as carriers, 148 ; pygmy, 

257, 275 ; dancers, 282 



Yule, Lieutenant, 22 



Zoological collecting, ^86, 
Zwaan, the, 190, 349, 356 



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